An electronic health record (EHR) is an electronic version of a patient's medical history that is maintained over time by the provider and may include all of the key administrative clinical data relevant to that person's care under that provider, such as demographics, progress notes, problems, medications, vital signs, past medical history, immunizations, laboratory data, and radiology reports.
Ambulatory care refers to medical care provided on an outpatient basis, which includes diagnosis, observation, consultation, treatment, intervention, and rehabilitation services. Ambulatory care services also includes many medical investigations and treatments for acute and chronic diseases. Several types of diagnostic procedures as well as, minor surgical and medical procedures, along with dental and dermatological services can be performed on an ambulatory basis.
Ambulatory electronic health record (EHR) is a software designed to be used in outpatient care facilities. Ambulatory EHRs are intended to help a physician to easily track a patient’s medical history and treatment, which helps in better diagnosis and effective treatment of chronic illnesses. A patient's full medical history, which is preserved in an electronic archive, is accessible to medical professionals. These reports essentially include all records of operations or treatments that do not include admission to a hospital. Physicians can monitor a patient's medical history and long-term care more easily with ambulatory EHR systems. Physicians use this software to gather detailed, relevant information about every patient, resulting in a comprehensive record of their personal health records. This extensive database assists doctors in getting a better understanding of patient’s health, making potential diagnosis simpler. Rising government support for EHR adoption, a shift in patient preference toward ambulatory treatment rather than inpatient care, and a growing need to reduce operating costs in the healthcare sector are the primary factors driving the global ambulatory EHR market. Furthermore, the integration of AI and machine learning, as well as the changing scenario in emerging economies are expected to offer significant growth opportunities for market players.
Adoption of EHR is beneficial for both patients and provider owing to improved patient treatment, improved care coordination and faster access to records, greater efficiency in practice and cost savings through decreased paperwork, increased patient participation, and transparency, and improved diagnostic and patient outcomes as a result of accurate prescribing. These advantages have led to significant implementation of EHR in the healthcare ecosystem. According to National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, the adoption of EHR in medical practice has doubled since 2008. More than 50% of upper-middle- and high-income countries have adopted national EHR systems. Many country and regional level initiatives have been observed to implement EMR/EHR.
- The implementation of EHR has been the U.S. government’s goal for years. In the U.S., through the EHR Incentive Programs, eligible hospitals, including critical access hospitals (CAHs), can qualify for EHR incentive payments totaling some USD 2 million or more. Moreover, eligible professionals can qualify for EHR incentive payments totaling USD 44,000 through the Medicare EHR Incentive Program or USD 63,750 through the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, passed in 2009, provided USD 36 billion as financial incentives to drive hospitals and clinics to transition from paper charts to EHRs. When HITECH was adopted, 48% of physicians used EHRs. By 2017, the number climbed to 85%. The healthcare providers were rewarded for adoption and meaningfully use of certified electronic health records (EHRs). This led to expansion of EHR in primary care.
- In March 2019, Digital Information Security in Healthcare Act (DISHA) was introduced by the Indian government to protect and legalize digital healthcare data. DISHA aims to regulate the generation, collection, storage, analysis, transmission, and ownership of patient health data and personally identifiable information.
- Europe launched The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in April 2016, a set of compliance requirements that came into effect in May 2018 and is applied to any organization that deals with data provided by citizens of the European Union. This assured people about the safety & security of their information across all businesses and facilities, including healthcare. Thus, the high security helps in adopting EMR/EHR easily across the region.
Hence, the rising government support for adoption of EHR solutions due to its advantages over traditional paper-based health records has been the key factor that has led to widespread implementation of EHR.
Moreover, the number of ambulatory surgical centers has been increasing because of its several advantages. An ambulatory surgical center allows patient to be discharged within 23 hours of care, reduces the risk of infections. The cost in ambulatory settings is lesser for both patient and payer due to lower cost base across staffing, space, and supplies. These factors are leading towards the growth in the number of ambulatory care centers and increasing trend of patient shifting towards ambulatory care rather than inpatient setting. The increasing trend of patients shifting towards ambulatory care, in turn would increase the demand for adoption of ambulatory EHR solution, thereby contributing towards market growth.
The global ambulatory EHR market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.2% to reach USD 6.74 billion by 2028, according to Meticulous Research®.
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