Ambulatory EMR market to 'double by 2012'

The U.S. market for ambulatory EHRs, worth $1.3 billion last year, is forecast to double to $2.6 billion by 2012, research firm Frost & Sullivan says.

Clearly, the HITECH portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, with its $27 billion set aside for "meaningful use" of health IT, is a key driver of this growth, but there are other factors contributing to the forecast, according to Frost.

"In addition to direct payments to physicians and hospitals for the 'meaningful use' of EHRs, HITECH will indirectly stimulate the market by enticing additional stakeholders like commercial payers, professional medical societies, healthcare manufacturers and various nonprofit organizations to help physicians and other providers successfully adopt information technology in their practices," the Mountain View, Calif.-based company says in a press release accompanying the report.

Healthcare reform also is playing a role in this surge as healthcare moves more toward outcomes-based reimbursement and tries to shake some of the administrative complexity that has plagued the industry for decades.

"Today, many public and private stakeholders are committed to harnessing the power of information technology to improve the quality and efficiency of our healthcare system," Frost & Sullivan Senior Industry Analyst Nancy Fabozzi says in the press release. "We are finally seeing providers make the transition from siloed paper charts to interoperable electronic health records."

Given that health IT isn't a fully mature market yet, Frost expects the growth to be intermittent rather than smooth, with vendors seeing revenues fluctuate quite a bit over the next five to seven years. Many vendors will seek to merge as well, according to Frost.

"Strategic partnering with a variety of stakeholders is important for survival in this market as consolidation on both the vendor and provider side increases. Innovative, provider-focused, and patient-centric technology companies that understand how to manage this industry's unique combination of risks and rewards will achieve business progression," the company says.

For more:
- take a look at this Frost & Sullivan press release
- read this Healthcare IT News story