Near Universal Outpatient PM & EHR Adoption…Now What?

Brendan FitzGerald

For the ninth consecutive year, HIMSS Analytics has published the Outpatient Practice Management (PM) and Electronic Health Record (EHR) Study, a market snapshot focused on physician practice adoption and utilization of PM/EHR solutions across the outpatient healthcare space.  While responses indicated near universal adoption across both hospital-owned and free-standing physician practices, the study highlights additional areas where the outpatient market still needs to make up ground, specifically with health information exchange (HIE), accountable care (ACO) and most importantly, which technologies outpatient facilities think will be most useful in a MACRA/MIPS environment.

Based upon the quantitative research findings of the 2017 Outpatient PM & EHR Essentials Brief - combined with analysis of data from the HIMSS Analytics LOGICTM market intelligence platform - the gradual increase of PM and EHR solutions by physician practices since 2008 has led to near universal adoption across the market.  While previous studies have indicated a limited replacement market since 2014, the 2017 study showed increased intention of practices to replace their PM and/or EHR solution.  Driving some of this change is the purchase of outpatient practices by hospitals and health systems, instances of vendor shake-out due to a saturated vendor market, and overall dissatisfaction with initial vendor selections.  While this uptick could indicate the beginning of a more robust replacement market versus what has been seen in previous years, it is likely too early to tell at this point if the upward trend will continue.

Second Phase of IT Adoption

The outpatient market has essentially reached the second phase of IT adoption: making efficient use of the technology.  With near universal adoption, many practices can now focus on leveraging the technology to provide better patient care; maintaining or increasing practice workflows to increase physician/patient coordination and improve revenue collection; and keeping up with new regulatory ad industry initiatives (MACRA, CPC+, population health models).  In this regard, the outpatient market still needs to make up substantial ground but it is making strides in the right direction.  Roughly a third of study respondents have already joined an HIE or ACO.  Additionally, expanded use of patient portals and implementing alternative payment models to shift to a value-based care approach are viewed as primary tools for addressing future needs.

What's Next? 

What steps do you see outpatient organizations taking to make more efficient use of their IT investments?  What are the next addressable areas on their IT adoption list?  What are some of the challenges they are facing?

Learn more in the 2017 Essentials Brief: Oupatient PM & EHR Study, download the Snapshot Report today!

Download a free Snapshot Report of the HIMSS Analytics 2017 Outpatient PM & EHR Essentials Brief