EMR Market Topped $20B Last Year

Posted on May 2, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

As we all know, last year was a huge year for EMR adoption. How big?  Well, according to new data from research firm Kalorama Information, the EMR market hit $20 billion in 2012, driven by health IT upgrades and the desire for Meaningful Use incentive payments.

According to Kalorama, the EMR market was $20.7 billion last year, up 15 percent from the $17.9 billion it reached in 2011.  These numbers include revenue for EMR systems, CPOE systems and directly-related services such as installation, training, servicing and consulting.

Kalorama expects near year to be big as well, as providers implement EMR systems in an effort to avoid government penalties for sticking to paper charts.

More than $12.3 billion in Meaningful Use incentive payments had been doled out to 219,000 eligible hospitals and healthcare professionals as of March 1, 2013, with the incentives largely driving physician adoption of EMRs.

A recent CMS study reported that over 70 percent of physicians have used EMR systems, a huge jump from the 26 percent which had used these systems in 2006.  Hospital EMR installlations, meanwhile,  have been maturing, with 77 percent having reached Stage 3 or higher, compared  with 71 percent in 2011.

Going forward, Kalorama predicts that EMR adoption will continue to increase, that hospital adoption will be more rapid than physician adoption and that hospitals currently at adoption Stage 3 will continue to increase their engagement with their systems. The research firm also predicts that current EMR owners will be upgrading their systems.

Meanwhile, researchers say, the threat of penalties for failing to use EMRs meaningfully will force both doctors and hospitals to make upgrades over the next year or so.

While Kalorama doesn’t mention this, the next year or two is also likely to be marked by “the big switch,” with doctors in particular changing out systems that haven’t proven effective to date.  The likelihood that doctors will be buying new systems is likely to lead to a gangbuster year for ambulatory HIT vendors.