Global electronic medical records EMR market is estimated to reach $9.2 billion in 2017, with CAGR of 15.3% from $3.4 billion in 2009. Given federal stimulus, digitizing medical records will soon be “inevitable” in the US, however “it will take some time“.
While this trend may lead to a “big job growth” in the healthcare information technology industry, it can also spurcloud-based solutions as an alternative practical approach (vs buying on-premise EMRs).
EMRs are expensive whether you build it or buy it, anyway (so why not just lease it?). Salvatore Volpe, a doctor from Staten Island, attests that the switch to digitization saves him about $35,000 a year. “He acknowledged initial investments are expensive and some doctors’ offices may have to consider financing beyond any stimulus they get. In the long run, though, he said, the investment pays off in savings and improved care because doctors are sharing patient information.”
Think Big, Start Small
In Asia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Japan are leading the way towards an integrated national electronic health record implementation. Dr. Cheung, CMIO of the Hong Kong Hospital Authority (HKHA) imparted in the recent Healthcare Innovation IT summit, “think BIG, but start small.”
HKHA launched its EHR system in 2009. It’s scale is gigantically BIG: 8.9 million patients, 223 million episodes of care, 1 billion lab results, 388 million drug items, 3.5 million updates a day, sub-second response time 24×7 with 99.98% uptime since deployment.
Dr. Cheung adds: There is a common myth that doctors are “resistant to electronic records”. In fact the history of medicine shows that doctors are the first to embrace technologies which help them deliver better and more efficient care. Make sure technology is deployed in a way that benefits all users and that they are made aware of these benefits. If the technology you are deploying does not help the doctors, it will face severe difficulties. Others say that, “Incentives should be clearly defined before using an EMR system. One reason why a private doctor would choose not to buy an EMR system is because his pen and paper is already good enough.” Fossilized active doctors are often slow to embrace changes such as digitized records, as they are trained to verify and only “follow what is proven to work and not to take unnecessary risks”.
In the Philippines, some dinosaurs in healthcare may still be “very cautious” but obviously for valid reasons. “There must be an added and demonstrable benefit to patient care before we embrace any new technology and, more to the point — primum non nocere.”
EMRs in the Cloud :: Very Promising
“Cloud computing is rapidly developing as an alternative way to deliver computing power to the enterprise. At the same time, the service demands on enterprise healthcare institutions are also growing. More patients need access to healthcare and costs need to be constrained.”
It makes sense to put health records in the “cloud” — and given security and compliance concerns, a hybrid cloud EMR/EHR deployment would be seem to be the more viable solution. This’ll provide dramatic cost savings and faster provisioning given the cloud’s utility model.
Related: Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud :: Why Not Both?
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