The adoption of electronic health record (EHR) systems at outpatient practices has been accelerating, with the hospital-owned outpatient market showing near universal adoption.
According to research from HIMSS Analytics, in its 9th Annual Outpatient PM and EHR Study, 92 percent of hospital-owned outpatient facilities have a “live and operational” electronic medical record (EMR) systems. The research is based on a web-based survey aggregating data from a total of 436 respondents including physicians, practice managers/administrators, practice CEO/president and practice IT directors and staff, as well as HIMSS’s market intelligence that provides insight into 47,800 hospital-owned practices and 92,000 free-standing practices.
The research indicates strong growth in the implementation of outpatient EHRs over the years. This growth coupled with high adoption rates suggest the hospital-owned outpatient market has neared universal adoption.
The study also indicates nearly 70 percent of respondents representing free-standing outpatient facilities report having an EHR.
Adoption of the EHR in the free-standing outpatient market showed a slight decrease from 2016 based upon responses from study participant, the HIMSS report states.
“With some physicians on the verge of retirement and choosing not to invest in EHR technology, others who do not feel they need it, and the purchase of physician practices by either larger practices or hospitals/health systems, the opportunity for adoption in the free-standing market is somewhat limited. This indicates near universal adoption across this segment of the market,” the report authors wrote.
Survey respondents also were asked about their future purchase intentions, specifically whether they plan to purchase net new, replace or upgrade their current ambulatory EHR solution within the next two years. Close to 60 percent indicated that they are staying with their current vendor rather than replacing their solution. For the first time in four years, the respondents with no investment plans dropped below 60 percent (59.4 percent), from 66 percent in 2016, 61 percent in 2015 and 66 percent in 2014.
Six percent of respondents said they planned to purchase a new solution, which represents a drop from 9 percent in 2016. This further indicates the near universal adoption of EHR solutions across the outpatient space.
Just 10 percent of respondents said they have plans to completely replace their current solution, and 24 percent indicated plans to upgrade their current solution.
HIMSS research also indicates that the hospital-owned outpatient practice management (PM) solutions market is a highly saturated market, with 96.6 percent of hospital-owned outpatient facilities tracked as having “live and operational” PM applications.
When asked about their investment plans for PM solutions, the research shows a slight increase in the number of practices planning to replace their current solution, with 9.3 percent of respondents indicating plans to do so in 2017 compared to 5.4 percent in 2016. About 25 percent of respondents reported plans to purchase, replace or upgrade PM solutions. The percentage of outpatient practices with no plans to purchase or upgrade has remained consistent over the past two years at 74 percent in 2017.
The HIMSS research also examined outpatient practice leaders’ confidence, rated on a scale from zero to 10, that their current PM/EHR solution will be able to meet Meaningful Use criteria. About 37 percent cited complete confidence in their solution, up slightly from 2016 and more than 20 percent in 2015.