Sales of electronic medical records doubled in 2009 compared to to 2008, according to healthcare technology research firm KLAS.
The Orem, Utah-based market research company published its eighth annual clinical market share report, which analyzed data from more than 1,600 hospitals with more than 200 beds in the U.S. and Canada, detailing the performance of acute care EMR firms.
EMR sales were at a seven-year low in 2008, but after the HITECH provision of American Reinvestment and Recovery Act promised $27 billion to doctors and health centers, revenues for EMR makers began to creep up. The stimulus package provides up to $44,000 for eligible individual doctors and a base incentive reimbursement of $2 million for hospitals if they can prove "meaningful use" of an EMR system.
Several large EMR companies were not ready for the influx of demand, however, according to the report, “CIS Purchase Decisions: Riding the ARRA Wave.”
"Changes in the CIS market place as a result of ARRA seem to have blindsided some vendors and left them struggling to stay afloat in the large hospital market," said report author Jason Hess in prepared remarks.
"In 2009, Eclipsys, GE, McKesson Horizon and QuadraMed all lost more hospitals than they gained," he said. EMR systems from Verona, Wis.-based Epic Systems Corp. (NSDQ:EPIC) or Kansas City, Mo.-based Cerner Corp. (NSDQ:CERN) comprised almost 70 percent of the purchases from larger hospitals, according to the report.
General Electric’s (NYSE:GE) healthcare arm began offering $100 million in interest-free, deferred-payment loans to doctors’ offices in an attempt to hasten adoption of its electronic medical records products in June 2009.
Integration, clinical adoption and reliability were all "prominent" healthcare provider concerns the firm discovered in its research.
A winter 2009 survey led by national health information technology coordinator Dr. David Blumenthal, published on the website of the The New England Journal of Medicine, cited concerns about maintenance costs, resistance by physicians and an unclear return on investment as barriers to implementing EMR in hospitals. The biggest reason was cost.