Analysis: Epic leads ambulatory EMR market, but no vendor dominates

The EMR market is crowded, somewhat immature and rapidly growing. Characterizing it beyond such vague generalities is tough, but that hasn't stopped some from trying.

Austin, Texas-based Software Advice gamely attempts to analyze the ambulatory EMR market, estimating that about 225,000 physicians working in outpatient clinics or independent practices use some form of EMR--as defined by the CDC. (We take issue with the math here since analyst Chris Thorman bases this number on the assumption that 65 percent of the estimated 788,000 U.S. physicians work in ambulatory settings. We'd venture to guess that it should be 65 percent of practicing physicians, and we've heard that perhaps 600,000 to 650,000 docs are currently in practice. Plenty of physicians keep their licensure after retirement or when they move into an administrative role.)

No single vendor dominates, but Thorman reports that privately held Epic Systems leads with about 17 percent of the market. Allscripts-Misys Healthcare Solutions and eClinicalWorks each claim 15 percent market shares, while NextGen Healthcare Information Systems has 13 percent. GE Healthcare and lesser-known vendor SOAPware, of Fayetteville, Ark., each have at least 10 percent shares, too.

Software Advice doesn't have data from all vendors on the number of practices served, but it's pretty clear that some companies have had more success with different segments of the market. According to the analysis, GE has about 2,500 ambulatory customers and NextGen about 2,000, suggesting that they serve larger practices. On the other end of the spectrum, upstart Practice Fusion, which offers a free, advertising-supported product, does well with solo practices; the San Francisco-based company has perhaps 10,000 practices, encompassing about 18,500 physician users, the report says.

Thorman also asks for reader feedback. (Ours is above.)

Meanwhile, HIMSS Analytics has just released the fifth edition of its Essentials of the US Hospital IT Market report, taken from the organization's huge database of 5,200 hospitals and 32,000 medical facilities nationwide.

For further details:
- read this Software Advice blog post
- take a look at this HIMSS Analytics press release