My EMR Market Share Projection – 50% in the Next 5 Years

Posted on March 1, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

A lot of people like to throw around a lot of market share numbers for EMR and EHR adoption. One thing that’s clear in pretty much every number I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot) is that we still have a long way to go. Across all of these numbers there’s also a few other generally accepted principles:
-Small practices have a much lower EMR adoption percentage as compared with large practices
-Specialists have a higher EMR adoption percentage than general medicine doctors
-No one knows how to truly define what EMR adoption is in a survey

Taking in all my experience reading study after study and also my experience talking with hundreds and thousands of doctors, EMR vendors, consultants, etc about EMR adoption I’d put current EMR adoption somewhere around 25%. This isn’t any sort of scientific survey or approach. It’s just my feeling based on all my experience. Some might put it a little higher and some might put it a little lower, but I’d say most of that change is likely due to how they define EMR adoption.

A question I asked a number of people at HIMSS was where EMR adoption will be after the EMR incentive money has run its course. It’s a fun discussion to have amidst all your EMR and HIT nerd friends. However, it’s also an important business of healthcare question with lots of impacts based upon how EMR adoption goes.

My personal projection is that ONC should be really pleased if they achieve 50% EMR adoption by the end of the HITECH act (approximately 5 years). A number of really smart and involved people at HIMSS agreed with me on those numbers.

Yes, so I’m predicting that we’ll see about 25% of doctors adopt an EMR over the next 5 years. After those 5 years, I predict that the EHR adoption will really accelerate and we’ll see the other 30-40% EHR adoption in 2 years. Unfortunately, we’ll probably still have 10-20% on paper for various reasons.

I must admit that 50% adoption in 5 years still feels like we’re going to be missing out on some of the benefits of widespread EMR adoption. However, 90% adoption in 7 years doesn’t sound so bad. Maybe the older I get the shorter 7 years starts to sound.

While I like the sound of 90% EMR adoption, we can still do a lot of really good things in healthcare with only 50% adoption. Hopefully, the work I do on this and my other EMR websites helps to move the needle of EMR adoption a little bit. Not to mention help improve the rate of successful EMR adopters. That’s the goal.

What’s your take on where EMR adoption will go over the next 5 years?