According to a new IT spending forecast report published by IDC Health Insights (, IT investment by the Western European healthcare sector is forecast to grow from US$13.2 billion in 2013 to $14.6 billion in 2018.

Growth will be driven especially by software (4.6%), while investments in IT services will grow more slowly (1.6%). Hardware spending is expected to decrease over the 2017 horizon (-1.0%), according to the IDC research group. The Western European healthcare provider market continues to show moderate IT spending growth.

“Financial constraints in the market are still a major barrier to sustainable growth, but health authorities and decision makers are turning to digital transformation to reform healthcare systems, with the objective of achieving a balance between ensuring access and quality of healthcare services and ensuring long-term financial sustainability. Integrated care initiatives and hospital modernization are two areas where digital transformation is expected to have a major impact,” says Silvia Piai, EMEA research manager, IDC Health Insights.

The report shows that the top 5 Western European economies are expected to account for 73% of total healthcare IT spending in 2013. The U.K. remains the biggest IT market, but an ongoing cautiousness about IT investment levels is expected to continue and the five-year growth outlook remains below 1%. Germany continues to be the fastest-growing market among the top 5 countries, with 3% CAGR in 2013–2018. France follows with 2.2% growth, spurred by government initiatives. Spain and Italy continue to decline.