Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Keeping an eye on emerging trends in the EHR world



As stated in McKinsey’s report “Going from Global Trends to Corporate Strategy”, an organization needs to recognize the rapidly changing trends of the business environment and analyze their impact on the organization, to maintain and grow profitability. The Electronic Health Record (EHR) industry is in the growth phase of its life cycle right now. But how long will this growth phase last? Are there new trends emerging that will threaten the EHR market?   

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) conducted a survey in 2006 and 2008 to determine the number of physicians using EHRs. Their findings suggest that there wasn’t any significant change in the EHR market between 2000 and 2006. However, there was a relative growth of 40% from 2006 to 2008 (from 29% in 2006 to 38% in 2008). Their latest report shows that in 2011, 55% of physicians had adopted EHR systems. Data indicates that EHR is currently the king and is at the steep part of its S-curve. But, has this market reached the point where the next big thing is about to swoop in and steal market share?

EHR has now become extremely common and commercialization may have started to set in. Moreover, the government is prescribing features for EHRs and is trying to normalize them using certification. As more and more features get added to EHRs, there is a rising potential for specialized applications to provide better features. If most of the major features are thus specialized, there is a possibility of adoption of a mixture of best-of-breed products rather than an all-encompassing system. Also, since the government is pushing the use of EHRs, the market is growing. This gives smaller competitors an opportunity to gain entry into the market and develop applications better than the current ones.

However, stating that the EHR market is dying would be an over statement at this point of time. EHRs are still getting better and are still on the steep growing part of the S-curve. But, it is highly possible that mixed applications will be the future of Healthcare IT. This is a rising threat for EHRs, but is not yet the end. It would be wise for Healthcare IT companies to keep an eye on this emerging market and assess its impact to their current business, to ensure sustained growth and profitability in the future.

References:
  • GSI Health: Examining the EHR S-Curve (http://www.gsihealth.com/executive-viewpoint/2011/4/26/examining-the-ehr-s-curve-toppling-the-kingpin.html)
  • The Health Care Blog (http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2008/12/14/emr-use-on-the-steep-part-of-the-s-curve-or-being-replaced-by-a-new-idea/)
  • Wikipedia: Electronic Health Record (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_health_record)


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