Enterprise Content Management: Answer To Clinical Data Boom

The introduction of mandates involving meaningful use of data and various governmental eHealth initiatives across the globe are fuelling the adoption of electronic medical records (EMR) and healthcare information systems (HIS) to enable universal access to patient information.

The resulting boom in clinical content can only be effectively managed by enterprise content management (ECM) solutions. Healthcare providers are upgrading their legacy content management solutions and transitioning to ECM solutions that can derive meaningful insights from complex information and hugely improve healthcare data liquidity. New analysis from Frost & Sullivan's Analysis of the Global Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Market for Healthcare finds the market earned revenue of $318.2 million in 2013 and estimates this to more than double to reach $715.4 million in 2019. While Europe and the United States will witness steady demand for ECM solutions, Asia-Pacific will experience significant growth especially in Australia and Mainland Asia.

"Attracted by the vast opportunities, traditional ECM vendors have forayed into the healthcare space - some focusing exclusively on ECM software products for this industry and others extending their product line to cater to the needs of healthcare clients," says Frost & Sullivan Healthcare Research Analyst Shruthi Parakkal. "These trends are expected to significantly boost market penetration rates of ECM, since 70-80 percent of the end user market is yet to deploy these solutions."

For the moment, however, market participants are faced with a slight shrinkage in the addressable market size of end users due to the decline in the number of hospitals through shutdowns and consolidation. This, along with the short-sightedness of health plans and EMR mandates in not including the integration of ECM solutions to manage the enormous amount of data generated, is lowering market potential. Moreover, the fear of altering the status quo – installing ECM requires a collective organisational commitment for a smooth transition – is deterring hospitals and healthcare providers.

This reluctance is also fuelled by the reduced budgets of hospitals that are currently limited to investments in EMR and HIS installations. In this scenario, ECM solution providers for the healthcare industry must continually strive to improve their product offerings, comply with regulations, and demonstrate high return on investment in order to attain maximum penetration in the healthcare market.

"ECM solution providers are already shifting their focus from the traditional on-premise models to externally hosted solutions to improve the efficiency and lower the total cost of operations for hospitals and healthcare providers," observes Parakkal. "This will bring considerable benefits particularly to end users who are finding it difficult to concurrently manage ECM solutions in-house and optimise the costs associated with it."

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