A recent report predicted a rapid growth in orthopedic EHR adoption among practitioners.

Orthopedics seen as next big market for EHR adoption

Health IT Interoperability reported that Black Book Rankings has predicted swift growth in orthopedic EHR adoption among practitioners, which is somewhat of a novelty in the field of specialty providers. During the first several years of the transition phase, primary care providers were adopting EHRs at a higher rate than specialty providers. This may be due in part to EHR news remaining focused predominantly on hospitals and primary care providers. Yet specialty providers also play an important role in the continuum of care, and they need comparable access to software that will work for them as well.

Changing tactics
In an effort to close the widening gap, connecting specialists to interoperable EHRs has become a top priority across the board, according to Health IT Interoperability. Vendors are moving toward meeting the specific needs of practitioners. Tailoring EHRs to specialty providers results in less training time and higher satisfaction among clients. Black Book has deemed orthopedics as the next field among specialty providers to see growth and expansion in EHR adoption, following the same trajectory that dermatology did.

In May 2014, Black Book reported that only one-third of dermatology specialists had attempted to make the transition from paper to electronic records before the year 2013. Even among those specialists that had purchased software from health IT vendors, it took a long time for the majority of them to fully adapt to the system. However, the following year dermatology was one of the fastest growing market divisions among EHR adoption. The prediction that this trend will also apply to orthopedics seems highly likely.

Gaining support
The vendors leading the EHR market have changed little over the past several years. However, those that provided adequate specialty-specific software gained not only market share, but also strong support from clients.

"Product and vendor loyalty among several niche EHR specialists is on the upward trajectory," said Black Book's managing partner Doug Brown. "The vendor's abilities to meet the evolving demands of interoperability, networking, mobile devices, accountable care, patient accessibility, customization for specialty workflow, and reimbursement are the main factors that the replacement mentality and late adoption are turning course in specialties such as orthopedic surgery."

According to EHR Intelligence, EHR developers are also working to engineer specialty-specific products that will aid in meeting meaningful use requirements. With a market that is only expected to show continued growth, EHR Intelligence has suggested that orthopedics may soon have as many sufficient software options to choose from as their counterparts in the general use EHR world.