By Justin Barnes, chairman emeritus of the national Electronic Health Record Association, former vice president of marketing, industry affairs and government affairs, Greenway Medical Technologies, Inc.
If we are at or approaching a technological tipping point in the history of healthcare, then it has never been more important for physician practices to select the right electronic health record (EHR) – and there are tangible reasons to believe so.
A recent survey of 400 providers by KLAS found that 35 percent are replacing existing systems, including one third of small practices within that number and 43 percent with 100 physicians or more (“Ambulatory EMR: Win Rates, Replacements, and Provider Loyalty,” Feb. 23).
The industry is regularly updated with financial analyses forecasting growth in the EHR market, such as the June, 2011 report from MarketsandMarkets expecting the U.S. EHR market to reach approximately $6 billion by 2015, up from about $2.2 billion in 2009.
At the same time, patients are increasingly becoming discerning consumers of healthcare and desiring more from technology, meaning they also will be seeking best practices. A recent Dell survey, for example, found 74 percent of patients share the expectation that EHRs should be able to link providers, healthcare institutions, labs and other facilities.
Taken together, as the implementation impact of the meaningful use initiative increasingly becomes evident, it is equally important to approach EHR selection as a starting point or a foundational aspect of long-term business strategy to navigate the future of healthcare and certainly accountable care, payment reform and new payer models yet to come.
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