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Significant Physician Group Demand for Ambulatory EHR Solutions

July 28, 2011
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Accelerating interest among physician groups in ambulatory EHR solutions, for different reasons

A recent survey released by CapSite, a healthcare technology research and advisory firm in Williston, Vt., found that 50 percent of physician groups in the U.S. say they plan to invest in ambulatory health record solutions. The objective of the study, which polled about 1,300 physician groups, was to assess how the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act is impacting the market for ambulatory electronic health record and practice management solutions.

The model projects a $3 billion market for ambulatory EHR and practice management (PM) solutions through 2013, according to CapSite senior vice president and general manager Gino Johnson.
Among the study’s highlights:
• 63 percent of physician groups indicated they would replace their current PM for an integrated PM/EHR solution, a percentage that has increased steadily over the past three years, from 46 percent;
• 38 percent of physician groups indicated that they plan to upgrade or replace their current PM solution; and
• Making their physician practice more efficient is the top reason freestanding physician groups are purchasing EHR solutions (by contrast, the in hospital-owned physician market, quality and efficiency were equally important.

In commenting on the survey’s results, Johnson noted that combined EHR/PM solutions is becoming a more attractive option for many groups, to the extent that they are willing to their existing system for an integrated solution.

Also interesting are the stated reasons for considering an EHR solution purchase. As Johnson notes, stimulus funds have convinced many physician practices that it it time to get on board with an ambulatory EHR solution, and this has dovetailed with attractive pricing models, he says. There is also the factor of keeping up with your peers, he adds.

Yet quality and efficiency outstripped the stimulus funds for both freerstanding physician groups and, especially, for hospital-owned groups. While there are differences in the way hospital owned groups and freestanding groups ranked reasons behind their purchases, efficiency ranked high in both.

More details on the study will appear in an upcoming issue of Healthcare Informatics.