Study: Meaningful Use Driving Growth of U.S. EHR Marketplace

February 25, 2014

The U.S. EHR market is projected to reach $9.3 billion by 2015, the largest worldwide, thanks in part to meaningful use incentives, says a new Accenture study.

The United States is expected to remain the world's largest EHR marketplace by the end of 2015, growing 7.1 percent until then, according to new data from Accenture.

The global management, technology, and outsourcing firm released its latest findings on the global EHR market at this year's Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference in Orlando, Fla. Worldwide, the marketplace is expected to reach $22.3 billion at year's end in 2015, with North America and South America making up $11.2 billion of that estimate. The combined marketplaces of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa are projected to account for $7.1 billion and the Asia Pacific region, $4 billion.

Accenture found that with a projected annual growth rate of 7.1 percent, or $9.3 billion by the end of 2015, the United States will remain the largest EHR market in the Americas and globally. Some of the factors identified behind this growth projection include the push toward improved interoperability, emerging competing priorities (i.e. regulatory mandates, patient satisfaction, shifting reimbursement models, etc.), and, of course, the EHR Incentive Program offering both incentives for compliance and penalties for non-compliance of meeting "meaningful use."

"While the U.S. market is maturing, the intent of meaningful use incentives was never to fully fund EHR adoption but rather to incentivize EHR adoption," Kaveh Safavi, MD, JD, global managing director of Accenture Health told Physicians Practice. "The findings show the U.S. has made significant progress toward this objective, contributing to roughly 40 percent of the global market, as health systems continue to optimize EHR investments to prepare for the next stage of meaningful use."

Safavi added that the U.S. will "continue to see the need to translate EHR adoption into health outcomes and expect to see providers increasingly adopting population analytics and mobility to help manage the transition" to the Stage 3 rules as well. 

The projected U.S. marketplace figure of $9.3 billion by the end of 2015 represents roughly 40 percent of the global EHR marketplace, according to Accenture. That makes for a lot of choices for medical practices, especially smaller ones looking for the right fit for their particular specialty and needs.

Safavi said these practices will continue to look for lower-cost solutions to "unlock value" from their EHR.

"Continual demand for lower cost solutions will always be balanced with the flexibility of doing business with a client," he said. "For example, the cost of maintaining a data center will increasingly outweigh its benefits as cloud-based solutions become more practical for small and medium-sized practices. We expect this evolution to continue, resulting in more options that provide physician practices with more affordable, scalable solutions.”