EHR market remains strong, enhances focus on patients

EHR market remains strong, enhances focus on patients

Industry leaders, providers and patients alike can expect the coming year to be another successful one for the electronic health records market. Continually driven by demand and advances in health care information technology, the market is anticipated to be worth $35.2 billion by 2019, according to Healthcare IT News. Overall success of EHR implementation has led to increased adoption and efforts have been made to increase accessibility and optimization.

Rocky, but continued growth
In just six years EHR adoption at hospitals grew from 10 percent in 2008 to 70 percent in 2014, according to Healthcare DIVE. While Stage 1 Meaningful Use had standards that were both achievable and user-friendly, last year's Stage 2 MU requirements led to more problems for some. Not only were standards difficult to attain but providers felt that reporting periods were ill-suited as well. The American Medical Association was one group that took action against MU Stage 2, asking for changes in standards related to better interoperability and data exchange. 

"EHR systems should facilitate connected health care across care settings and enable both exporting data and properly incorporating data from other systems. The end result should be a coherent longitudinal patient record that is built from various sources and can be accessed in real time," the AMA stated.

EHR crucial for patient improvement
Most recently, the Stage 3 Meaningful Use requirements released in October were met with more acceptance, according to Healthcare DIVE. The new requirements were created to ease reporting burdens, increase interoperability and above all, better the patient experience. In addition to the benefits that it can bring a health care organization, EHR optimization can enhance patient care and improve the patient experience, according to EHR Intelligence. Consequently, the focus has turned to making health records more accessible, more engaging and more beneficial not just for the doctors, but for patients as well.

2016 trends
Going forward, EHR optimization is projected to be one of  the top priorities for organizations in the industry in 2016, according to EHR Intelligence. Demand and technological capabilities are two of the driving forces behind market growth, software researcher Cathy Reisenwitz told the news source. She also outlined four emerging trends in EHR and health care IT that can be expected for 2016.

  1. EHRs will go mobile – From banking to shopping, it seems as though almost every industry has been introduced on a mobile platform these days and the demand from patients in the health care industry is no different. In the coming year EHRs will work to better the mobile design and interface offered, and patient chart updates and scheduling will soon coincide with prescriptions.
  2. Telemedicine to be top player – According to the news source, Reisenwitz said that the market for telemedicine is expected to surpass $30 billion within the next  five years. The growing trend comes from providers seeking to reach seniors and those living in rural areas.
  3. EHRs look to cloud-based tools – 2016 will see an increasing number of EHRs offering cloud services, according to Reisenwitz. Not only are they more cost-effective, but they also promote better continuity of care.
  4. Improved patient portal experience – Patient portals are on the rise and continuing to grow in popularity and use. This trend will continue into the new year and EHRs will improve the overall experience.

Reisenwitz also noted that a large space for data still remains, not having reached its' full potential yet. Therefore, challenges will ensue and there will be inevitable hurdles involved with each of these new trends, as there are with all new technological tools and practices.