Most health IT apps display 'muted' growth, others flying high

Two advanced applications in 'aggressive' growth mode
By Erin McCann
10:53 AM

Many health IT applications are now approaching their market saturation point, as are now installed at more than 75 percent of U.S. hospitals. A select few, however, are forging ahead in record growth mode with big market potential, according to a new HIMSS Analytics report. 

The study, which highlights health information technology market trends, underscores market penetration and growth potential for 22 IT applications, with virtualization software and dictation with speech recognition coming out on top and boasting a historical 20 percent or greater compound annual growth rate. 

The growth for these applications – along with disaster recovery systems and single sign-ons – is likely to continue, as they're installed in less than 50 percent of U.S. hospitals, findings point out.

The uptick in growth for these applications comes as no surprise to Juergen Fritsch, chief scientist at speech recognition and clinical documentation company M*Modal, who says that with meaningful use and ICD-10 requirements on their plates, physician productivity is slipping, and more of them are looking for help in that arena. 

[See also: Health IT market in growth mode.]

"The more hospitals adopted these EHRs and the more physicians started to use them, the more they realized it drags on their productivity, and they're just not as productive entering the data that way compared to what they used to be," said Fritsch, in an interview with Healthcare IT News.

Their lengthy to-do lists now have more docs resorting to the controversial EHR copy and pasting.

"Physicians want to tell a story about the patient; they don't want to just take from drop down menus, but if they're forced to do it, they'll start copy and pasting because that's the only way they can keep their productivity," added Fritsch. 

The HIMSS Analytics report also highlights nine "saturated" applications, which have been implemented by at least 75 percent of U.S. hospitals. Practice management applications top the list, with a 97 percent market penetration rate. Abstracting (95 percent); home health administrative (96 percent); encoding (96 percent); chart tracking (90 percent) and dictation (90 percent) are close contenders. 

[See also: Health IT spending flying high, survey says.]

"The support applications profiled in this report can be categorized as standard business tools with an already high market penetration, so it’s great to see that such advanced technologies like virtualization software and dictation with speech recognition are emerging as top support services with high growth potential," said HIMSS Analytics Senior Director of Research Jennifer Horowitz, in an Oct. 16 statement. 

Overall, report findings underscore low growth markets for more than two-thirds of the 22 health IT applications. Applications falling under the muted growth category, or those that have a growth rate of less than 10 percent, include encryption, firewall, interface engines and spam filters.