EMR demand likely to ramp up rather than surge

You know the old adage, "It's a marathon, not a sprint"? Apparently, it still applies to EMRs, even in this age of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

In an interview with Health Data Management, Raymond Falci, managing director of New York-based healthcare investment banking firm Cain Brothers, says that demand for EMRs will increase gradually rather than all at once in the months leading up to January 2011, when the stimulus incentives kick in. "That's because some portion of the market will want to wait to see the final rules," Falci told the magazine. Now that national health IT coordinator Dr. David Blumenthal has said that the definition of "meaningful use" of health IT won't be final until next spring, and that the most recent proposal would let providers meet the 2011 standards as late as 2014, Falci believes HHS may delay implementation of the incentive program, just as it did with the HIPAA privacy and security rules.

At least some vendors seem to agree. "The delay in the meaningful use definition is definitely going to have an effect on the timing of decisions. The total number of decisions won't change, but there may be a shift in timing," says GE Healthcare VP Jim Corrigan. Still, GE and others who are prepared to hire new staff should demand pick up sooner than expected.

For more:
- read the Health Data Management story