Restrained by a maturing U.S. market and countries that are still in economic recovery, growth has and may continue to remain slow for the global market for Electronic Health Records (EHR). As such, innovative solutions will be crucial in a competitive environment with changing needs. Governments and health systems will be better equipped to make a transformational leap towards the next wave of EHR needs if IT vendors embrace interoperability, mobile, cloud and big data.
Although the worldwide EHR market is projected to grow at 5.5 percent annually, to $22.3 billion in 2015, Accenture’s previous research shows that would represent a slowdown from roughly 9 percent growth during 2010.
Despite the slower pace of growth globally, the combined EHR market in North and South America (The Americas) is expected to reach $11.1 billion by the end of 2015, compared to an estimated $4 billion in the Asia Pacific region and $7.1 billion in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Driven by consolidation and the federal Meaningful Use Guidelines, the U.S. is expected to remain the largest EHR market in the Americas and globally, with a projected annual growth rate of 7.1 percent and will total $9.3 billion by the end of 2015. Along with increasing U.S. market demand, Brazil, projected at $0.4 billion, may represent the greatest relative growth opportunity as a country-wide federal initiative, the Unified Health System, is expected to drive 9.7 percent annual growth over the next several years.
In EMEA, where a slow economic recovery has inhibited EHR growth in recent years, the market is expected to grow from $6.5 billion in 2014 to $7.1 billion by the end of 2015. Government-funded initiatives are expected to generate the region’s most significant EHR growth in the Nordic countries (5.1 percent), United Kingdom (4.1 percent) and Germany (3.6 percent). Within EMEA, the United Kingdom is expected to remain the largest EHR market, growing to $2.1 billion by the end of 2015.
Although the Asia Pacific region represents a smaller market, it is expected to grow 7.7 percent to $4 billion overall by the end of 2015, with country governments expected to invest in EHR initiatives through 2018. The Japanese EHR market is forecast to reach $1.4 billion while Australia’s market is projected to grow to $ 0.7 billion by the end of 2015.
Growth Inhibited by Market Forces
A select mix of market forces has impacted the rate of growth of the addressable EMR/EHR markets:
• Economic Slowdown: In many markets, the downstream impacts of a complex global economy have restrained the growth of the EMR/EHR market. Lack of capital and operational constraints has prompted the private and public sectors to be more cautious.
• Government Funding: Markets have struggled to develop quickly without the government incentives that serve to fund EMR/EHR functionality and coordinate the IT progress of health systems.
• Competing Priorities: Healthcare leaders face a number of challenges including financial restraints, regulatory mandates, governmental incentives and penalties, safety and quality outcomes, patient satisfaction, population health management, personnel shortages, and in some cases, shifting reimbursement models.
• Inconsistent ROI: Health systems have inconsistently achieved the expected levels of return that EMR/EHR solutions originally promised and often have difficulty quantifying monetary return, pushing stakeholders to further question vendor’s total cost of ownership.Although these factors have slowed the momentum for the EMR/EHR market, Accenture believes that mitigation of these forces will not be enough for the EMR/EHR global market to reignite growth.
New Solutions and Approaches Required for Vendors to Flourish
Health systems will need new approaches to address the diverse and changing needs of the marketplace:
• Broad EMR/EHR Solutions: These are the traditional solutions already employed in mature markets, such as the U.S., by large vendors offering the broadest range of functionality through large-scale implementation exercises.
• EMR as a Service: Cloud-based solutions represent a growing opportunity, particularly for providers who cannot make large up-front investments, and are willing to trade off other benefits of traditional systems. These solutions are likely to be increasingly important in emerging countries and ambulatory settings, growing upstream as breadth of capabilities mature.
• Population Health Management: This more holistic approach integrates EMR/EHR within a care management platform and emphasizes data-driven population health across the care continuum. Structured and unstructured data sources, such as biometric, behavioral and genomic data, are standardized and inform personalized care plans through analytics capabilities. The advantages include the opportunity to harness data in order to improve outcomes and to serve patients more effectively from preventative medicine through to end-of-life services.
Innovate to Thrive
In practice, health systems may require elements of all three models, especially as information needs change or care delivery is pushed downstream to ambulatory settings and other alternative care settings. Vendors need to build disruptive solutions that combine the best of the current proposition with new funding and delivery mechanisms. All stakeholders in the marketplace will need to embrace new ways of working – and often forge new partnerships/alliances – as they develop innovative models for securely sharing patient data and implementing or augmenting EMR/EHR solutions. The status quo is not an option for any player in this space anymore.