Exploring the Recent Trends in Electronic Health Records Maintenance in the US Market

An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is the digital form of a paper-based health record of patients. The EHRs maintain patient records and make them instantly available to authorized users for quick and efficient decision-making. 

All of a patient’s previous medical records are stored electronically in an EHR system. Currently, it is going beyond maintaining standard clinical data a healthcare provider collects to meet broader patient care objectives.

An EHR is an essential part of health IT with the below-mentioned features;

  • Maintains medical and diagnostic history of a patient
  • Preserves relevant data essential for treatment planning and medication
  • Maintains a detailed immunization history of patients, including dates, allergies, radiology images, and laboratory and test results
  • Provides analytical data to healthcare providers to make decisions about patient care
  • Helps healthcare providers to automate and streamline workflow

History of Electronic Health Records in the USA and its Progress

The US federal government established the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in 2004 to implement and advance the nationwide use of health information technology and the electronic exchange of health information. The federal government, state governments, and the major insurance companies in the US are in favor of promoting EHR because it streamlines and standardizes the healthcare process. A VA study on EHR reported a 6% improvement in the efficiency of the healthcare providers per annum, which is significant growth, making healthcare services affordable to many.

The federal government announced several incentives for individual, office-based physicians, and hospitals to maintain patient health records in electronic form. Until 2008, only 20% of physicians adhered to EHR to meet basic requirements like ordering a digital prescription, ordering clinical tests, and reviewing laboratory results and notes the clinicians write. By 2009, there was a 48%EHR adoption.

The 21st Century Cures Act of 2016 made EHRs usage mandatory for all health care providers.

The act clarified that electronic copies of patient records should be available to patients in digital form on request. A “certified” electronic health record (EHR) system will be utilised by 96 percent of non-federal acute care hospitals and 86 percent of office-based physicians by 2017. A Harvard University study observed that doctors and nurses in the US were using electronic medical records for updated patient information. The study observed that healthcare providers can track patient information quickly by typing a patient’s name.

Factors Influencing EHR Adoption in the US

Electronic Health Record systems are gaining wide acceptance in the US for reasons;

the national center for chronic diseases in the US published a report stating that six out of 10 adults in the US suffer from chronic diseases, like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, and several contagious diseases like COVID-19. Mounting awareness of EHRs usage drives the exponential growth of the EHRs market in the US.

The US EHR Market Report

According to a Research and Markets report, the Electronic Medical Records market in the US will grow at a CAGR of roughly 6.9% during 2000-2025 annually, from 28,692.52 million USD in 2021 to 42,818.81 million USD by 2028.

Segment-wise Adoption of EHR in the US

Hospitals are the earliest and the largest adopters of electronic health records by 2019 because they found it convenient and cost-effective to generate and maintain massive public health data electronically.

Public and private hospitals in the US have integrated EHRs for reasons;

  • They produce large volumes of medical data every day
  • It is convenient to have patient data in a centralized place to track.
  • Cheaper than manual, paper-based patient data management
  • Saves time and increased efficiency and productivity
  • High return on investment for large-scale data generation and management.

US hospitals rely on electronic health records for 90% of their patients, according to the ASHP National Survey of Pharmacist Practice in Hospitals in 2018. Ninety-six percent of hospitals choose CPOE systems with clinical decision support, which are computerised prescriber-order input systems.

By 2019, clinical laboratories that conduct clinical tests and trials dominated the US EHRs market with a 30% market share. Clinical data is instrumental in diagnosis, patient care, drug development, and delivery. Market investments in the clinical data segment may increase as the clinical data helps healthcare providers plan and implement effective patient care strategies.

Major Trends of the US EHRs Market

Increased demand for Cloud-Based EHRs Software Adoption

Hospitals that generate and manage large-scale data have preferred cloud-based software compared to an on-premise for reasons; Cloud-based software, compared to in-house, server-based is cost-effective because a cloud-based platform operates as an online software-as-a-service implementation that hosts the software in the cloud, where users access it via the internet.

Factors Influencing the US EHRs Market Growth

  • The push to digitalize patient health records of the US federal government is the primary driver of the US EHRs market, followed by the pandemic.
  • The outbreak of COVID-19 surged widespread demand for patient care.
  • Forced market shutdowns in the wake of the pandemic led to innovations and digital disruption.
  • Retail and CPG sectors have reacted immediately with a renewed digital experience for customers, and hospitals are not an exception, despite low technology adoption.
  • Increase demand for cloud-based models, as 56% of hospitals in the US have shifted to cloud-based EHRs services as they are not capital intensive.
  • The cloud-based EHRs services do not demand investment in hardware, software, and network servers.
  • The evolving healthcare technology services boost innovation to promote convenience and an advanced patient digital experience.
  • Expansion of healthcare IT infrastructure, with big players, like GE Health, Allscripts, Cerner, E-clinical Works, and EPIC investing heavily in innovation.
  • Increase demand for advanced healthcare facilities
  • Administrative convenience
  • Increased adoption of computerized physician order entry, radiology systems, lab systems, and electronic versions of clinical notes.
  • Efficient clinical report documentation and management

Final Thoughts

Besides government initiatives of investing in electronic medical and health technologies, the private sector within the US and outside has grown exponentially, investing in hardware and software research and development (R&D) and training. The decision of the federal government to expand EHRs usage beyond the tier one cities to significant towns and rural areas is also boosting EHRs adoption in the US. Although office-based physicians are reluctant to use EHRs for limited usage and high operative costs, hospitals that serve the wider public are ready to embrace EHRs with awe.