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The EMR: Then and Now

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Amidst the ever-changing landscape of the healthcare industry, technologies both new and old have been placed under heavy scrutiny to ensure that they remain at peak levels of efficiency and performance. From the waiting room to the OR and beyond, medical technology today is redefining the patient experience. At the forefront of this shift exists the core, fundamental entity that drives universal healthcare documentation — the EMR.

The innovation behind the shift from recording patient information with traditional paper to an electronic method was pioneered in the late 1960’s when Dr. Larry Weed sought to provide a way to facilitate third party verification for individual doctors seeking to confirm or reaffirm their patients’ diagnoses. After the introduction of Dr. Weed’s Problem Oriented Medical Record and the Regenstreif Institute’s development of the first medical records system that followed in 1972, medical professionals across the industry were hesitant to adopt these technologies. More than three decades later, a 2008 report showed that less than 10% of non-federal acute care hospitals within the U.S. had adopted electronic health record systems. In a dramatic fashion, the use of these systems increased more than five fold by 2013. 

This rapid increase in adoption across the U.S. was the result of further innovation around the development of EMR systems and key legislation such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that defined financial incentives and “Meaningful Use” criteria for those seeking to adopt and implement EMR systems. Currently, Eligible professionals that have not implemented an EMR system consistent with Meaningful Use criteria are faced with a 1% reduction in Medicare reimbursement with a fee schedule outlining penalties of 2% and 3% in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Having expanded into a $25 billion dollar market, the future for EMR/EHRs is brighter than ever. Additionally, after a recent Kalorama Information report concluded that no denominator exists within the market, one may presume that competition within the market will steadily continue to inspire innovation. Currently atop the market, Cerner holds roughly a 14% market share while its competitors, Allscripts, Epic, GE, McKesson and Siemens make up a combined 49 percent of the market.

The vast history of EMRs and their recent emergence as a fundamental element of today’s healthcare experience is a core feature of the industry’s broader transformative story.  As technology and legislation continue to propel the market for EMRs forward patients and healthcare professionals alike should expect innovation to continue to address patient-centered solutions around accessing, viewing, and exchanging vital healthcare information. Download our EHR eBook here to find out more.

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About Mark Grenga

As an account executive at Ambra Health, Mark Grenga is focused on delivering cloud-based, medical image management solutions to leading practices that reflect upon the patient-centric and value-based care models driving healthcare innovation today. Mark received a BA in history from the University of Virginia and enjoys volunteering with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters in New York.

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