The electronic medical records market is estimated to rise to $39.7bn by 2022, report finds
Kalorama Information, a division of MarketResearch.com, has revealed its findings surrounding the rise of electronic medical records in its latest report, EMR 2018.
Set to rise to $39.7bn by 2022, technology giants Cerner, Epic and Allscripts remain key players in catering to this ongoing demand, where the global market is set to reach $31.5bn this year alone.
From 2018-2022, the market is expected to grow at a compound average rate of 6% per year, according to a recent release.
As healthcare providers and organisations continue to adopt fragmented health technologies with minimal room for collaboration, data sharing remains increasingly complex, placing additional strains on providing patient centered care, with increased silos across various systems.
This is only exacerbated further if a patient moves from public to private healthcare, with no system on the market providing complete interoperability.
- Amazon sends further shockwaves by reportedly developing its own health clinics
- Carelink provides mission critical platform for maternity and neonatal applications
- Is fintech the answer to the healthcare’s flatlining finances?
With this in mind, growth within the market has become boosted by conversions of remaining hospital systems to automated, digital tools and systems, as well as upgrades of existing customers, new services and vendor switches. Vendors are continuing to look at ways to further provide advanced information to gain a more detailed picture of a patient’s health.
Whilst hospitals and health technology providers work to automate clinical processes to drive efficiencies and boost relationships into ambulatory physician-based practices, smaller health providers have limited resources to invest in its digital infrastructure, EMR systems included.
Consequently, Epic, Cerner, Allscripts, athenahealth and MEDITECH have been found to be working to close this gap and provider further support, leading this segment to become one of the fastest growing areas in the EHR market, according to a recent KLAS Research report.
However, Practice Management System (PMS) companies have remained keen to adopt new technologies and bring on board a mixture of EMR/PMS combinations, creating seamless clinical system strategies, as well as ensuring effective vendor-customer relationships. Cerner, Allscripts and Epic are also leading this area.
Getting ready for cloud data-driven healthcare
As healthcare continues to recognise the value of data and digital transformation, many organisations are relying on the cloud to make their future-forward and data-centric thinking a reality. In fact, the global healthcare cloud computing market was valued at approximately $18 billion and is expected to generate around $61 billion USD by 2025.
At the forefront of these changes is the rapid adoption of cloud-based, or software-as-a-service (SaaS), applications. These apps can be used to handle patient interactions, track prescriptions, care, billing and more, and the insights derived from this important data can vastly improve operations, procurement and courses of treatment. However, before healthcare organisations can begin to dream about a true data-driven future, they have to deal with a data-driven dilemma: compliance.
Meeting regulation requirements
It’s no secret that healthcare is a highly regulated industry when it comes to data and privacy – and rightfully so. Patient records contain extremely sensitive data that, if changed or erased, could cost someone their life. This is why healthcare systems rely on legacy technologies, like Cerner and Epic EHRs, to manage patient information – the industry knows the vendors put an emphasis on making them as secure as possible.
Yet when SaaS applications are introduced and data starts being moved into them, compliance gets complicated. For example, every time a new application is introduced into an organisation, that organisation must have the vendor complete a BAA (Business Associate Agreement). This agreement essentially puts the responsibility for the safety of patients’ information — maintaining appropriate safeguards and complying with regulations — on the vendor.
However, even with these agreements in place, healthcare systems still are at risk of failing to meet compliance requirements. To comply with HIPAA, U.S. Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 11 and other regulations that stipulate the need to exercise best practices to keep electronic patient data safe, healthcare organisations must maintain comprehensive audit trails – something that gets increasingly difficult when data sits in an application that resides in the vendor’s infrastructure.
Additionally, data often does not stay in the applications – instead healthcare users download, save and copy it into other business intelligence tools, creating data sprawl across the organisation and exposing patient privacy to greater risk.
With so many of these tools that are meant to spur growth and more effective care creating compliance challenges, it begs the question: how can healthcare organisations take advantage of the data they have without risking non-compliance?
Yes, healthcare organisations can adhere to regulations while also getting valuable insights from the wealth of data they have available. However, to help do this, organisations must own their data. This means data must be backed up and stored in an environment that they have control over, rather than in the SaaS vendors’ applications.
Backing up historical SaaS application data directly from an app into an organisation’s own secure cloud infrastructure, such as AWS or Microsoft Azure, makes it easier, and less costly, to maintain a digital chain of custody – or a trail of the different touchpoints of data. This not only increases the visibility and auditability of that data, but organisations can then set appropriate controls around who can access the data.
Likewise, having data from these apps located in one central, easily accessible location can decrease the number of copies floating around an organisation, reducing the surface area of exposure while also making it easier for organisations to securely pull data into business intelligence tools.
When healthcare providers have unfettered access to all their historical data, the possibilities for growth and insights are endless. For example, having ownership and ready access to authorised data can help organisations further implement and support outcome-based care. Insights enabled by this data will help inform diagnoses, prescriptions, treatment plans and more, which benefits not only the patient, but the healthcare ecosystem as a whole.
To keep optimising and improving care, healthcare systems must take advantage of new tools like SaaS applications. By backing up and owning their historical SaaS application data, they can do so while minimising the risk to patient privacy or compliance requirements. Having this ownership and access can propel healthcare organisations to be more data-driven – creating better outcomes for everyone.