Medical informatics market expected to be worth $6.5 billion by 2012

The clinical informatics industry is expected to be worth an estimated $6.5 billion by next year, more than six times the $973 million it was valued at in 2009, according to a report published by research and consultancy firm Frost & Sullivan.

Key findings of the report include the substantial increases in the level of adoption of clinical informatics networks. Approximately 12 percent of hospitals had implemented an electronic health record (EHR) system in 2009, compared to more than 40 percent today.

Among the reasons cited by the report for the increase include a shift in healthcare providers’ priorities to achieve meaningful use certification under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) federal financial incentives. Compliance with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act was also listed as a primary factor for the substantial increase in adoption of clinical informatics networks.

“Hospitals absolutely understand that they have to have a new business model and EHRs are at the heart of that change,” Nancy Fabozzi, an analyst with Frost & Sullivan, told Information Week. “It’s about collecting, analyzing and exchanging data – they can’t do that without an EHR, which is why for hospitals the adoption of an EHR is inevitable.”

Widespread implementation of clinical informatics technology and a shift towards achieving meaningful use certification are motivating factors in the medical informatics marketplace. According to a recent study by consultancy firm AC Group, there are approximately 675 clinical informatics vendors in the U.S., and more than 499 Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT-certified EHR systems currently available.

The Frost & Sullivan paper predicts that the marketplace will see a degree of consolidation in the EHR industry by 2016, with larger clinical informatics vendors such as General Electric and Philips achieving progressively larger market shares.

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