Physician segment drives EMR sales

Sales of electronic medical record systems to physicians grew by an estimated 22 percent in 2011 compared to 2010, according to medical market researcher Kalorama Information. That rate outpaced the growth of EMR sales to hospitals, Kalorama reported in “EMR 2012: The Market for Electronic Medical Records,” a new report released this week.

"The physician segment will likely drive growth and it’s the part of the market where new entrants can realistically stake a claim," said Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information. “It takes infrastructure and legacy relationships to support hospital conversion.”

Kalorama said statistics from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey indicate that nearly 57 percent of office-based physicians used partial or full EMR systems in 2011, an increase from 2010. More than $1.3 billion in Medicare EHR Incentive Program payments were made between May 2011 and the end of December 2011, and more than $1.1 billion in Medicaid EHR Incentive Program payments were made between January 2011 and the end of December 2011. Those incentives have played a role in convincing doctors to convert to electronic documentation.

Companies selling to physician offices, according to Kalorama, include large vendors GE Healthcare, Cerner, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Epic, and McKesson, as well as smaller EMR specialists such as eClinicalWorks, E-MD, NextGen and Practice Fusion.

“Some of these smaller companies have been branding for years and dominating Google searches, so even in the physician and Web-based EMR market there will be some challenge for startups to launch,” said Carlson. “It’s likely that a new entrant would need to find a niche or better address usability issues.”

More information on the full report is available here.

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