Improved quality of care from using electronic health records (EHR), as well as increased use of smartphones and tablets in health care, are driving adoption of health record applications, according to IDC. Government financial incentives, cloud computing and mobility will drive 80 percent of health care organizations to adopt EHR by 2016, according to a report from IDC Health Insights.
Released May 30, "IDC MarketScape: U.S. Ambulatory EMR/EHR for Small Practices 2012 Vendor Assessment" gives providers guidance on which EHR vendors to choose.
MarketScape is an IDC assessment tool that scores a vendor's fitness to succeed in an individual market.
Analysis of government data, vendor revenue and its previous surveys led IDC to its EHR market predictions for 2016, Judy Hanover, research director at IDC Health Insights, told CIO Insight sister publication eWEEK. Market adoption was 25 percent in 2009.
Despite a forecast of strong growth in EHRs for the future, small medical practices currently have a low level of EHR adoption, said Hanover. "We're still at a pretty low level of adoption in the small practice," she said.
Although the Obama administration's "meaningful-use" incentive program is guiding adoption of health records, small providers may only benefit in the short term if they just focus on satisfying these guidelines, according to Hanover.
"The timeline of meaningful use has an end -- through 2016 for small practices," said Hanover. "Really, I think they should view it as an investment in the future of their practice."
The government issued its proposal for Stage 2 of the meaningful use guidelines in February, and a final rule for Stage 2 is expected this summer.
Practices should also consider how an EHR platform may affect their efforts to coordinate care, either as part of an accountable care organization, in which groups of doctors receive incentives from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services based on patient outcomes, or a patient-centered medical home, in which patients and doctors collaborate on care and track a patient (or a family) over time using tech tools.