A new survey from venture capital firm Venrock took the pulse of the healthcare IT sector and found that although respondents remain mostly positive about health IT companies, they still have a few concerns.

The survey polled more than 250 respondents from health IT startups, insurance companies, large employers, academics, healthcare providers, the government, investors and professional service providers. Participants took the survey between March 4-15, 2019.

Thirty percent said they believe the creation of new healthcare IT companies will increase significantly over the next two years and 48 percent said it will increase somewhat. Fourteen percent said it will stay the same, while only 8 percent believe the creation of new HIT companies will decrease in the coming two years.

Additionally, 22 percent think the capital markets for private health IT companies will remain strong at all stages. On the flip side, 16 percent said they will become tougher at all stages. A decent portion of participants fell somewhere in the middle. Twenty-six percent said markets will remain strong for early stage but become more difficult for long-term growth. And 36 percent think they will become more difficult for early stage but remain strong for long-term growth.

Still, the sector faces challenges in areas like hiring and funding.

For instance, 24 percent said they’re very concerned and 48 percent said they’re somewhat concerned about talent/hiring. Only 8 percent said they’re not at all concerned about it. Twenty percent of respondents were neutral.

As for funding, 7 percent indicated that they’re very concerned about it. Thirty-nine percent said they’re somewhat concerned and 18 percent were not concerned at all. Thirty-six percent remained neutral.

The survey respondents also weren’t completely sold on some of the industry’s most hyped technologies.

Fifty-three percent of participants said they’re still waiting for artificial intelligence to make a difference in healthcare. Thirty-nine percent think AI has marginally made a difference and 7 percent believe it has meaningfully made a difference. A mere 1 percent said AI hasn’t made a difference and it never will.

The outlook was worse for blockchain. Among the respondents, 75 percent believe blockchain will struggle to find its role in healthcare this year. Eighteen percent said that in 2019, the technology will find use cases that benefit patients. The remaining 7 percent seemed to be in the dark about the technology, as they selected the response: “What’s a blockchain?”

Photo: metamorworks, Getty Images

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