Adoption of electronic medical records 'paramount'

Due to deficiencies in present administrative and record-keeping capacities, hospitals across Europe are under tremendous pressure to improve clinical practices. As inefficient trends permeate hospital management, the adoption of electronic medical record (EMR) solutions has become paramount. Designed to constantly report and monitor care pathways, EMRs reduce the number of data entry errors, inadequate prescriptions and extraneous time spent on preparing charts by the nursing staff.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, European Electronic Medical Records Markets, finds that the market earned revenues of $801.9 million in 2009 and estimates this to reach $1,748.1 million by 2016. The regions covered in this research service include the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia and Benelux.

“Greater emphasis on patient-centric healthcare as well as on disease management and prevention is increasing the market potential for EMR in Europe,” says Frost & Sullivan Program Manager Eramangalath Sujith.

There is significant growth potential in EMR adoption rate and revenues in European hospitals, especially in the small and medium hospital segments where adoption rates are presently the lowest. The European EMR market is expected to more than double itself by 2016, despite the exorbitant annual maintenance of EMR, being one of the highest in the healthcare IT market in Europe.

However, there are challenges to the full implementation of EMRs. Presently, hospitals across Europe have several forms of medical records, such as paper-based records, basic direct operating system (DOS) records, and MS access systems. The transition from these types of systems to the all-encompassing EMR is tedious and difficult.

“Furthermore, the fragmented nature of the market and budgetary constraints are factors affecting its wider adoption,” explains Sujith. “Smaller hospitals need to understand the return-on-investment in EMR and its long-term benefits.”

Participants should focus on the growing markets. A company that can launch a product with a strong understanding of regional requirements and specifications along with the right marketing mix will be able to capture the market significantly. Hospitals should increase their investment in IT and focus on cost-effective systems that provide greater value for money.

“Effective end-user meetings to discuss end-user requirements and educate them on the capabilities of EMR systems will facilitate customer satisfaction, thereby stepping-up the customer base,” concludes Sujith.

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