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IDC Forecasts Healthy EHR Sales Through 2015

January 11, 2011
by David Raths
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Multitude of regulatory, business factors influencing buying decisions, report says

A new report from IDC Health Insights predicts that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (ARRA-HITECH) Act will have the stimulative effect that Congress had hoped for.

Framingham, Mass.-based IDC predicts that total U.S. EHR/EMR spending will grow from $2 billion in 2009 to $3.8 billion in 2015, a compound annual growth rate of 11.5 percent.

“That’s twice the growth rate for health IT software in general and four times the annual growth rate for the IT market,” notes Judy Hanover, research director for IDC Health Insights.

The report, “U.S. Electronic Health and Medical Records 2009-2015—Meaningful Use Spending Forecast and Analysis,” notes that in a recent survey, 43.7 percent of respondents indicated they would accelerate or aggressively accelerate their plans for EMR deployment as a result of ARRA.

Breaking down the spending by provider type, the report expects spending on ambulatory systems to grow from $633.5 million in 2009 to $1,406 million in 2015, a compound annual growth rate of 14.2 percent. Inpatient system spending is expected to jump from $1,343 million in 2009, to $2,382.8 million in 2015, for a compound annual growth rate of 10 percent.

The report describes the expected impact of several factors, including the development of cloud-based services, which include software as a service and application hosting. “Although they’re still in their infancy, we are seeing widespread interest in cloud services, especially on the ambulatory side,” Hanover says. “It is an attractive option for smaller practices lacking IT infrastructure.”

The report also notes that consolidation among both providers and vendors will continue to shape the market dynamics. “Larger, more complex provider organizations will require more sophisticated EMR/EHR technology,” it states. “Evolving care delivery and reimbursement models, such as accountable care organizations and patient-centered medical homes, will require flexible, interoperable and scalable solutions. Mergers and acquisitions, along with new vendors entering the market and established, but less successful, vendors exiting the market, will create buyer uncertainty.”