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How will EMRs grow in the next five years?

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | January 21, 2014
Lorren Pettit,
vice president of market research
at HIMSS Analytics
Patient portals, clinical data warehousing/mining and radiology bar coding applications are the EMR applications that HIMSS Analytics expects will dominate first-time sales in hospitals over the next five years.

The HIMSS Analytics Database contains data from over 5,300 hospitals, and market share data for over 130 software applications and technologies. The report, called the Essentials of the U.S. Hospital IT Market, Winter 2013 Edition, looked at all of the applications associated with the EMR adoption model and examined historical information and the trajectory of sales.

Patient portals are the only applications that are noticeably linked to the meaningful use Stage 2 requirements, however.

"With a good strategy, it can really engage the patient in their care," Lorren Pettit, vice president of marketing research at HIMSS Analytics, told DOTmed News. "It's just not pushing information out, but you really want to be able to get your patients to be able to pull information and then the ideal is that they will change their behaviors once you have a better educated market."

Clinical data warehousing/mining and radiology bar coding have different driving forces. Hospitals usually adopt data mining applications in order find out the value that their investments yield. Pettit believes that since they invest so much in IT, there is a lot of pressure on them to determine the value of their investments.

"The focus is on making these organizations and hospitals smarter, that they will be able to create efficiency and be able to develop care at the right time and right patient," said Pettit.

The drive behind radiology bar coding applications is partly related to demonstrating the value of investments, but more so, patient safety and the goal to diminish any errors in the delivery of care.

The report also discussed that there may be a high volume of replacement sales for foundational applications including laboratory bar coding, pharmacy management, and information systems.

"A lot of hospitals have these systems in place but they are sort of the early foundational parts of an EMR. As these systems age in place there is going to be a need to replace them," said Pettit.

Pettit said that he can't say that the sales will be astronomical but he does believe that there may be more of an interest in replacing and updating the systems.

"One of the things I do believe is happening is that we are seeing a shift from what I would call an unnatural market to a natural market," said Pettit.

HIMSS will release another report in about a month that will discuss the factors that are driving health IT purchases.

He described an unnatural market as one in which the federal government influences organizations and hospitals to purchase certain systems. A natural market revolves around the organizations and hospitals making their own decisions.

Although EMRs will continue to be a priority for hospitals in terms of acquisitions, Pettit said that over the next five years there will be a growing interest in applications, such as revenue cycle applications, that were neglected because of the unnatural market.

"As the federal government removes itself, the market itself sort of tries to figure out what's hot and where it should go," said Pettit.

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