IDC foresees big uptick in outpatient EHR adoption

By Mike Miliard
10:47 AM

A new report from IDC Health Insights predicts the market for ambulatory EHRs will grow significantly in the coming years, moving from less than 25 percent adoption in 2009 to more than 80 percent by 2016.

The report, "IDC MarketScape: U.S. Ambulatory EMR/EHR for Midsize and Large Practices 2011 Vendor Assessment" takes a look at 10 electronic health record programs aimed at mid-sized and large practices seeking to qualify for meaningful use. Some vendors are well-positioned today, analysts say, and others are poised to gain market share over the next one to four years.

[See also: Ambulatory EHRs: Get on board! .]

The anticipated growth is fueled primarily by ARRA incentives, according to IDC – but  additional trends include the quality of care improvements that result from using EHRs in ambulatory practices, their growing capabilities and use of cloud computing, the use of mobile devices in ambulatory practices and the consolidation of provider vendors as market saturation increases.

The report examines 10 technologies from from eight leading vendors in the mid-size and large ambulatory practice sector – Allscripts, Cerner, eClinicalWorks, Epic, GE Healthcare, McKesson, NextGen and Sage – analyzing their current capabilities and future strategies.

Each product has been evaluated against 48 criteria and divided between two main categories: strategy and capabilities measures for success. Within each of these criteria, IDC Health Insights has weighted specific features of the product or the product's vendor that are particularly significant for purchasers of the software and for users.

[See also: EHR adoption still a top concern for physician practices.]

With more than 150 vendors currently offering ONC-certified technology for meaningful use, "EMR/EHR buyers face an overabundance of options," says Judy Hanover, IDC Health Insights research director.

She adds that "to meet all of the challenges of EMR/EHR adoption and get to meaningful use while preparing for healthcare reform, it is clear that ambulatory providers need integrated EMR/EHR solutions that address not only the total cost of ownership for the technology but also the infrastructure, workflow, and human factor issues associated with the new technologies. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for EMR/EHR, and each application should be evaluated on the basis of its unique characteristics and fit with a particular practice."

Learn more about the report at