MGMA 09: GE notes strong EMR interest, with ARRA crush still to come

As with so many other healthcare trade shows, attendance at the Medical Group Management Association's annual meeting, which wrapped up yesterday in Denver, was down about 20 percent compared to a year ago. But EMR vendors targeting physician practices almost uniformly reported good traffic to their booths in the exhibit hall.

"We're seeing a pretty good volume in the ambulatory area right now compared to the hospital market," reported Jeff Chester, vice president and general manager of clinical business solutions sales at GE Healthcare.

Chalk that up to the health IT provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, right? Not so fast. "That wave hasn't hit the beach yet," Chester continued. The leads GE generated at MGMA this week were of the more "traditional" variety--those who had already made the decision to go electronic and just happened to be in the shopping phase right now.

That can only bode well for EMR vendors heading into 2010, with the Medicare and Medicaid incentives set to begin in January 2011. "I've never been more optimistic," Chester said.