Propelled by government incentives, a desire to improve patient outcomes and the bottom line, sales of EMRs grew 14.2 percent in 2011, according to medical market research company Kalorama Information.
The New York City-based research company found increasing physician and hospital acceptance, robust competition and growth in EMR budgets; factors culminating in a $17.9 billion market in 2011.
The revenue growth mirrors increased physician and institutional usage, the report found. Statistics from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) indicate that 56.9 percent of office-based physicians used partial or full EMR systems in 2011, an increase from 2010. The revenue estimate reflects monies earned by hundreds of companies in the space, though a few top healthcare IT firms dominate the market.
Incentives have been a factor in the increased usage and growth of EMR systems. As part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, the federal government set aside nearly $20 billion in incentives for hospitals and physician practices to adopt EMRs. The first incentives were paid in 2011 based on 2010 performance.
More than $1.3 billion in Medicare EHR Incentive Program payments have been made between May 2011 and the end of December 2011, and more than $1.1 billion in Medicaid EHR Incentive Program payments have been made between January 2011 and the end of December 2011. Kalorama concluded it does not think the market growth is merely the result of the incentives.