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Ambulatory EHR Market Overview
The global ambulatory electronic health record (EHR) market valued around $4.0 billion in 2016 and is expected to advance at a CAGR of 5.9% during 2017–2023.
On the basis of delivery mode, the ambulatory EHR market is bifurcated into cloud-based and on-premises solutions. Of these, cloud-based solutions dominated the market in 2016. This is attributed to the fact that such solutions are cost-effective as compared to on-premises solutions, which encourages their adoption across the world. Moreover, the growing need among insurance companies and healthcare providers for securing remote access to patients’ health records is resulting in the high demand for cloud-based EHR solutions.
GLOBAL AMBULATORY EHR MARKET SPLIT, BY DELIVERY MODE (2016)
Based on practice size, the market is categorized into large practices, small-to-medium-sized practices, and solo practices. Of these, large practices led the ambulatory EHR market in 2016, since the budget and the number of trained professionals operating these solutions are considerably higher in large practices. Ambulatory EHR solutions find wide application in patient management, practice management, referral management, e-prescribing, decision support, population health management, and health analytics. Among these, the fastest growth during the forecast period is projected to be witnessed by the practice management category, owing to the several advantages offered by EHRs, including more efficient day-to-day healthcare practice operations.
On the basis of end user, the market is divided into hospital-owned ambulatory centers and independent centers. Of these, the hospital-owned ambulatory centers held the larger share in the ambulatory EHR market in 2016. The rising prevalence of chronic diseases and expanding patient base are resulting in the rapid adoption of these solutions in hospital-owned ambulatory centers.
Geographically, North America contributed the largest revenue to the ambulatory EHR market in 2016, while Europe held the second-largest share. The dominance of North America can be ascribed to the rapid adoption of EHR systems, increasing number of initiatives by the government to promote healthcare, and growing geriatric population in the region. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) reported that three out of every four hospitals in the U.S. were using at least a basic EHR system in 2014. However, during the forecast period, the fastest growth in the market is expected to be seen in Asia-Pacific.
Ambulatory EHR Market Dynamics
Healthcare intranet technologies (HCITs) allow for the management of health information across all computer systems along with the facilitation of a secure exchange of health information between providers, consumers, and payers. As per the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the adoption of EHR solutions among office-based physicians in the U.S. rose by 6.6% between 2013 and 2014. The NCHS also reported that EHR adoption by pediatricians, general practitioners, and obstetricians/gynecologists, who come under the category of primary care physicians, increased to 78.6% in 2014 from 72.1% in 2013. The rapid adoption of EHR systems is, thus, helping the ambulatory EHR market grow.
Moreover, hospitals and clinics across the world are being encouraged by governments to convert traditional health records to the electronic format. For instance, several initiatives have been taken by the U.S. government to increase the EHR use in the country. For example, the U.S. government passed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act as a component of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in 2009 to encourage EHR utilization, with the ultimate goal of modernizing and improving the country’s healthcare system.
Hospitals and physicians who adopt EMR systems receive incentives under this act. Moreover, the program aims at maintaining the quality of healthcare and decreasing the expenditure on medical facilities in the U.S. Healthcare organizations in the country are also adopting EHR systems to reduce their operational expenses. Thus, the rapid adoption of HCITs is boosting the growth of the ambulatory EHR market.
With the development of cloud-based EHR solutions, the data stay completely secure and fully accessible, regardless of network traffic or time. Besides getting updated automatically, cloud-based solutions demand less capital investment and space and fewer IT resources. These advantages result in considerable cost savings for clinics, without the need to devote extra time and employ additional staff to manage the bulky hardware. The adoption of EHR is simpler, as it runs on the web instead of a computer, thereby eliminating the requirement for dedicated hardware and software.
Cloud-based solutions also do away with the need for installing hardware and acquiring software licenses, leading to a substantial reduction in implementation costs. Cloud-based ambulatory EHR solutions need Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance via data centers with bank-level security and high-level encryption methods that make data unreadable for any unauthorized person. Such advantages are driving the demand for cloud-based solutions in the ambulatory EHR market. This is, in turn, creating ample opportunities for the market players to come up with advanced solutions.
The initial cost involved in setting up an ambulatory EHR system in any practice is high; moreover, the latest technology and software are required in order to keep the data up-to-date, which further increases the cost of EHR deployment. As per the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, the five-year total costs of ownership (TCO) for office-based health records and ambulatory EHR deployment are $48,000 and $58,000, respectively.
With wireless connectivity and cloud-based services trending in the healthcare sector, there has been a substantial increase in the usage of handheld devices among healthcare professionals and patients around the world. This has raised concerns for the security of private patient information and become a key hinderance in the wide adoption of EHR solutions, thus affecting the growth of the ambulatory EHR market.
Ambulatory EHR Market Competitive Landscape
Major companies in the ambulatory EHR industry are either acquiring or collaborating with other companies to strengthen their hold on the market. In June 2017, athenahealth Inc., which provides network-enabled services to hospital and ambulatory clients worldwide, acquired Praxify Technologies Inc., a provider of solutions that help improve health data portability, productivity, and decision support. With this acquisition, athenahealth Inc. aimed at advancing its mobile capabilities and platform strategy to drive workflow.
Similarly, in April 2017, CoverMyMeds LLC, which offers electronic prior authorization (ePA) solutions, was acquired by McKesson Corporation, a healthcare supply chain management solution provider. The acquisition was aimed at making these solutions available to providers, pharmacies, manufacturers, payers, and patients.
Cerner Corporation, General Electric Company, Epic Systems Corporation, eClinicalWorks, Quality Systems Inc., McKesson Corporation, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc., eMDs Inc., and Greenway Health LLC are some other important players operating in the global ambulatory EHR market.