5 Data Snapshots of Today’s U.S. Health IT Industry

by Lorren Pettit, MBA

HIMSS Clinical Informatics Insights

During a time in our nation’s recent history when the financial hurdles of the economic downturn challenged many sectors of the economy, the U.S. health IT industry emerged as one of the few bright spots on an otherwise bleak horizon. While it’s true that the health IT industry has long enjoyed a history of growth, the health IT industry’s recent trajectory elevated when the rest of the economy slumped. The gains in health IT’s recent past have been propelled by the collusion of at least two related factors; the availability of incentive dollars offered by the federal government and the emergence of prescriptive health IT adoption roadmaps.

The impact of these two forces is evidenced in the HIMSS Analytics database when evaluating the health IT buying practices in U.S. hospitals during the past five years. The following are five key findings that provide a snapshot of the current state of health IT in the U.S.

  1. The vast majority of U.S. hospitals (90.6%) have some type of recent experience in acquiring/installing a health IT application.
  2. The percentage of hospitals involved in the acquisition and/or installation of at least one health IT application each year continues to increase.
  3. Clinical applications tied to the EMR have consistently ranked as the most frequently acquired/installed health IT applications.
  4. The top two most frequently acquired/installed health IT applications are targeted towards physicians (Computerized Practitioner Order Entry; Physician Documentation).
  5. The health IT buyer market is composed of four distinct segments:
  • Miscellaneous buyers: 79% show no discernible pattern to the type of applications they acquire.
  • EMR Suite Buyers: 11% focus on acquiring the basic elements of the EMR suite.
  • EMR Plus Buyers: 6% acquire/install the EMR suite plus select financial/operational applications.
  • PACS Buyers: 4% acquire/install imaging (PACS) applications.

The U.S. health IT industry has been a promising sector of the market for some time now. The recent growth in this industry is attributable in no small part to the federal government’s involvement via the meaningful use incentive program. While the federal government has clearly influenced the hospital health IT market, the great unknown is to what extent past governmental involvement will have on future buying behaviors.


About the Contributor
Lorren Pettit is Vice President of Market Research for HIMSS Analytics. He works with an expert team offering clients strategic guidance toward achieving sustainable growth and market leadership positioning.