• by esalazar@marketresearch.com
  • May 22 2015
  • EMR

Competition Mounts in Physician and Ambulatory EMR Segments

Competition Mounts in Physician and Ambulatory EMR Segments

According to Kalorama Information’s Electronic Medical Records 2015, medium-sized physician practices represent the most frequently targeted client group of electronic medical record (EMR) vendors. Over 50 EMR vendors offer EMR solutions to practices of roughly 6 to 25 physicians, significantly more than the roughly 30 vendors for any given segment of the acute care market. More vendors are now also offering specialized EMR solutions for ambulatory care areas such as family practice, pediatrics and geriatrics, with roughly 30 vendors per area. Consistent with the observed level of competition, Kalorama Information anticipates growth in the physician office and ambulatory EMR market will significantly outpace growth in the more-established hospital or acute care EMR market.

Physician office and ambulatory care have lagged in EMR implementation due to the slower return on investment (ROI) for smaller care providers, the high costs for EMR systems originally developed for hospitals, and limited reception to government incentives. The recent high growth in primary care EMR has been spurred by hospital acquisition of physician practices, impending penalties against physician reimbursement (“stick” following “carrot”), and the roll-out of web-based or cloud computing solutions for EMR. Web-based or hosted solutions appeal to smaller practices through low start-up costs for compliance. Web-based services, however, are often subject to higher operating or on-going service costs, suffer from connection and speed issues, and have outstanding security and data ownership issues. Regardless their potential downsides, web-based EMR systems are already the leading system type in the small practice market ahead of installed systems.

Numerous participants have been able to enter the physician office EMR market through their development or application of service-as-a-platform (SaaS) systems. Such companies are able to target new accounts and smaller organization otherwise passed over in earlier implementation trends. Centralized operations also allow new web-based or SaaS providers to develop their business with fewer resources and build a distributed client base. Such companies, counted among the over 50 participants in the small and medium physician practice EMR market segment, represent leading acquisition targets for private equity firms. More established players in the market segment include athenahealth and eClinicalWorks, both of which offer web-based practice services related to EMR/EHR management.

Kalorama Information’s Electronic Medical Records 2015 is the latest edition of its annual market report detailing leading trends, challenges and opportunities in EMR implementation and development. In the report, regional markets for EMR, vendor market shares and client market segments and EMR usage are examined.