A German company, Hospital IT Network, has launched an online European e-health industry research database that offers detailed profiles of more than 1,500 hospital IT suppliers across Europe.

The online service offers customers profiles of the main hospital system vendors. Uwe Buddrus, managing director hospital-it.net, told E-Health Europe that he believes that no other website is as comprehensive.

“In many European countries, such as Italy, France and Spain, finding detailed information about companies is a disaster, there are many companies with the same name and much of the information about them is not verified.

“We decided to address this problem by profiling every company that we have ever identified in the past and creating a database and making this knowledge available to everyone.”

The hospital-it.net service consists of three areas, each of which are accessible through central and area related searches.

The main area of the website is a vendor directory, which Buddrus believe is the “most extensive and up to date directory of healthcare IT products in Europe.”

The company say users can access the vendor directory free of charge. However, the network is financed by charging fees to IT vendors and through selling market reports as well as vendor profiles.

Hospital It Network has been set up by the owners of market research firm, Data Information Intelligence (dii), the Leipzig-based company which carried out the research that formed the Health Information Network Europe (HINE) census activities in 2004 through to 2007.

HINE began a European Union funded research initiative managed by Deloitte Consulting to build up a picture of health IT markets in Europe. Deloitte later developed HINE as a for profit subscription-based industry research service, offering subscribers access to research and briefings.

Buddrus told E-Health Europe that in May 2009, HINE transferred the yearly eHospital Census activities to Hospital-it.net “for no moneys”, providing dii with a comprehensive overview of the installed base of healthcare IT systems in European hospitals.

Further planned developments to the directory include the addition of “eBay and Amazon style vendor ratings.” The ratings will be verified and checked for unusual patterns to ensure that they are completely independent.

Buddrus said: “Impartiality and above all transparency is to be the hallmark of the Hospital IT Network. We are like consumers’ association for IT solutions in the healthcare sector.”

He added: “The beauty of the network is that a vendor can react if they receive poor ratings, they can either use the news part of the site to defend their position or ultimately take a reactive step to change their strategy, so the website can help to improve the delivery of hospital solutions via feedback.”

The second area is the marketplace where market participants can be brought together to supply additional information, such as software demonstrations, and publish product requests and invitations to tender.

The third area provides a social networking arena focused on the exchange of information and opinions and for purchasers to share advice.

Buddrus said that the network plans to extend to more than 2,500 companies and product profiles in more than 20 EU countries by the end of 2009.

“After that we will continue to expand, we will remain focused on Europe but the goal is to cover all 27 EU countries in three years.

The ambition in the future is to cover the whole of healthcare: “There is also a possibility of becoming the healthcare IT network but at the moment we want to focus on hospitals where we are in a unique position to target a very specific audience.”

Hospital IT Network