Intensifying competition among private hospitals in Brazil has compelled them to use advanced clinical systems as a market differentiator, thereby driving the uptake of electronic medical records (EMR). The need to reduce expenses in both public and private hospitals has further fuelled EMR installations in the country.
As such, the Brazilian EMR market is expected to be one of the fastest growing segments in the country's healthcare IT sector. New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Market in Brazil, finds that the market earned revenues of $145 million in 2012 and estimates this to reach $336 million in 2018 at a compound annual growth rate of 15 percent.
EMR implementation in Brazil has increased as healthcare institutions look to optimize flux, gain control over patient demands, manage information, and reduce waiting times. Educational programs by local healthcare IT associations have improved awareness on the importance of EMR across the country and promoted EMR usage.
"So far, concerns among healthcare institutions regarding the security of patient data have been the primary reason for their reluctance to adopt EMR," said Frost & Sullivan Healthcare Research Analyst Gabriel Walmory Silveira. "Standards for electronic security and the security certification established by the Brazilian Health Informatics Association (SBIS) in partnership with the Brazilian Medical Council (CFM) for EMR systems have raised consumer confidence, spurring sale volumes."
However, the CFM certification does not include an interoperability standard and the lack of integration among different healthcare IT systems limits the development of a more sophisticated EMR market in Brazil.
Thus, most local companies provide their EMR solutions as a module of an integrated hospital information system (HIS). Local HIS vendors are responsible for 80 percent of the total EMR market, and this shortage of specific EMR vendors restrains the growth of high-quality EMR solutions.
Local vendors are gradually beginning to offer advanced EMR systems rather than just management-focused HIS solutions. This is a new move for firms in the country and they must continue to adapt to changing hospital requirements to compete with multinational companies.
"Overseas EMR providers can adapt quickly by partnering with local HIS vendors that have a strong focus on enterprise resource planning (ERP)" concluded Silveira. "The Brazilian market has already witnessed several mergers and acquisitions. Alert, a Portuguese company has formed a partnership with Benner, while Philips has acquired Wheb-Tasy, and Agfa has bought WPD."
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