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Wednesday, 20 January 2010 07:00

2010 'pivotal year' in healthcare technology adoption

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There will be widespread adoption of healthcare technology (EHR) globally throughout this year in a pivotal period for vendors, with some vendors likely to be pushed out of what is seen as an already competitive market.

In a new report released today, Ovum warns that EHR vendors that are unable to capture a sizeable share of the market this year “will be pushed out of an already competitive market,” and it advises that EHR vendors “must incorporate SaaS and speech recognition into their product portfolio if they wish to take advantage of the market opportunity in 2010.”

Ovum backs up its predictions for widespread adoption of EHR this year with evidence from a survey late last year that showed that where 150 hospitals in North American and Europe were asked to rank their top investment priorities in the next six months, EHRs were “overwhelmingly the top priority for the coming year.”

“Despite the barriers to adoption—high cost and change management issues—widespread adoption of EHRs will occur in 2010, particularly with the help of SaaS and speech recognition tools,” according to healthcare technology analyst at Ovum, Christine D. Chang.

Chang says that in the past, major barriers to EHR adoption included high upfront costs and lack of IT resources to implement and maintain the technology, but says a SaaS model solves both of these issues and that Ovum believes it is the best approach for physician offices and small hospitals.

“With a predictable, monthly expense, a subscription-based SaaS EHR is a much easier cost for providers to swallow. Furthermore, as the EHR vendor hosts the solution, providers only need to worry about their internet connection,” Chang says.

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Chang also makes the point that for physicians who did not grow up with computers using a computer can be extremely frustrating and time consuming.
 
“In a fast-paced and time sensitive environment like a hospital or doctor’s office, providers do not want to waste precious time in front of a computer when they could be in front of a patient. For many clinicians, speech recognition tools have helped increase EHR adoption by decreasing the number of changes providers need to make.
 
“Dictation is already a regular part of the physician’s workflow. Speech recognition is even faster, as it feeds directly into the patient health record without the lag time of transcription.”

And, Chang also says that even physicians who are comfortable using computers have found speech recognition helpful, “as they are not only able to dictate notes, but can also navigate through the EHR quickly, jumping from screen to screen without clicking through multiple windows.”

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