EHR Sales Grow at Physician Practices

Electronic health record system sales to physician practices grew 22% in 2011, outpacing the growth of sales to hospitals, according to a recent article in PhysBizTech.

The data is from a survey conducted by medical research firm Kalorama Information, Rockville, Md., that indicated that 57% of office-based physicians used partial or full EHR systems in 2011. The “National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey” is highlighted in the firm’s report, “EMR 2012: The Market for Electronic Medical Records.”

It also found that more than $1.3 billion in Medicare EHR Incentive Program payments were made between May 2011 and the end of December 201,1 and that $1.1 billion in Medicaid EHR Incentive Program payments were made between January 2011 and the end of December 2011. These incentives have helped push the physician buying surge, says Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information.

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

Some of the large vendors that offer EHR systems for physician practices include GE Healthcare, Cerner, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Epic and McKesson Corp. Smaller specialist vendors with such an application include eClinicalWorks, E-MD, NextGen and PraticeFusion, according to the report.

“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,” Carlson said. “It’s likely that a new entrant would need to find a niche or better address usability issues.”

More information about the report is available at kaloramainformation.com.