According to Accenture’s study of healthcare software, hardware and services companies, the global market for EMR systems is expected to reach $19.7 billion in 2013, with North America experiencing a 9.7 percent growth from 2011 to 2013.

When asked how critical the global EMR markets are to their company’s long-term and short-term strategy, 71 percent recognized the EMR markets as a short term growth opportunity and 100 percent view them as a growth opportunity in the long term.

The survey anticipates four major trends that will have the greatest impact on EMR growth:

  • Nearly 71 percent rate government incentives as a driver behind effective health IT adoption.
  • The survey notes a shortage of clinical IT specialists will also contribute to the transition to outsourcing and cloud-based EMR solutions. The EMR systems will require more clinically trained IT resources.
  • Health system networking will also create the largest challenge, due to the large variety of geographic regions.
  • Another major issue that will affect the pace of EMR adoption is global economic recovery.

The connection between government funding and outsourcing is the need for increasing support costs and lack of IT resources – hospitals in North America are barely able to offset the costs of adopting and supporting EMR systems, even with incentives. As a result, healthcare companies are turning to outsourced and cloud solutions to reduce overall costs.

While the survey recognizes the capability of cloud computing to reduce costs, increase efficiency and help with EMR deployment, it also quotes an IDC survey stating 54 percent of organizations are still researching and evaluating the cloud, while 21 percent are actually using the cloud for applications. Despite slow adoption rates, the survey shows an expected overall increase in spending on clinical IT over the next five years.

A major inhibitor of EMR adoption include concerns around security and data sharing. Knowing where your data resides and maintaining control is important when it comes to reducing security risks. It’s important to review your contracts with your cloud hosting provider to ensure you’re following HIPAA compliant practices for optimal protected health information (PHI) security.

Get more information about cloud security from our E-Tip, Top 5 Tips for Cloud Computing Security – one tip is to invest in dedicated hardware and increased IT security measures, such as managed firewalls, and intrusion detection and prevention systems. Not sure what HIPAA hosting should entail? Check out our HIPAA FAQ for answers.

Source:
Accenture’s Overview of International EMR/EHR Markets (PDF)