Study: Outpatient EHR and Practice Management Tools Nearing Universal Adoption

Aug. 2, 2016
Market adoption of practice management and electronic health record (EHR) solutions has been trending upward since 2008 and is now nearing universal adoption, according to a recent HIMSS Analytics study.

Market adoption of practice management and electronic health record (EHR) solutions has been trending upward since 2008 and is now nearing universal adoption, according to a recent HIMSS Analytics study.

The study, HIMSS Analytics 2016 Outpatient Management (PM) and Electronic Health Record (EHR) Solution Essentials Brief, aims to provide a snapshot of solution adoption and purchase intentions from hospital-owned and free-standing physician practices in the U.S. outpatient market. The study reflects input from 436 physicians practice administrators and managers, practice CEOs/presidents, physician assistants and practice IT directors/staff on their current PM and EHR usage as well as future plans for PM and EHR solution adoption.

According to the study using data from the HIMSS Analytics Logic Database, 92 percent of hospital-owned outpatient facilities have a “live and operational” outpatient EHR solution, up from 54.5 percent in 2010. “The continued growth and high adoption rates suggest the hospital-owned outpatient market has neared universal adoption,” the HIMSS study authors stated.

And, nearly 78 percent of respondents representing a free standing outpatient facility report having an EHR, and the adoption rate in the free standing outpatient market has increased roughly 30 percent over the last five years.

“With some physicians on the verge of retirement and choosing not to invest in EHR technology and others who do not feel they need it, the opportunity for adoption in the free standing market is somewhat limited. This indicates near universal adoption across this segment of the market,” the study authors wrote.

Given this rise, physician practices are positioned to address broader patient needs and continued regulations such as Meaningful Use and Medicare Access and CHIP Reorganization Act (MACRA), the HIMSS study authors stated.

“I am somewhat surprised a more robust replacement market has not yet developed for practice management and electronic health solutions,” Brendan FitzGerald, HIMSS Analytics director of research, said in a statement. “But given the cost and implementation effort of these practices over the last eight years, and the need to keep up with industry standards and additional regulations, practices seem content with their current solutions and will look to leverage these solutions to meet industry standards and regulations.”

FitzGerald noted that 15 percent of respondents are looking to replace or purchase EHR solutions in the near term, “so there is still opportunity in that solution set of the outpatient market,” he said.

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