NEW YORK (GBI Research) - Unhealthy modern lifestyles, ageing populations and struggling national health services will combine to create huge demand for Electronic Medical Records (EMR), according to a new report by medical intelligence company GBI Research.

The new report shows that information communication technology (ICT) is to play a leading role in future medical care, as more efficient administration of diverse healthcare practices will lower costs to countries. Governments are expected to drive the market by implementing national schemes to bring medical records up to date in a technological age.

Improvements in medical technology are enabling individuals to live longer, and many developed countries face spiraling healthcare costs due to aging populations, which place increased pressure on existing infrastructure. This is proved by the growing ratio of healthcare expenditures to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In addition, lifestyles are becoming more westernized, creating an increasing prevalence of lifestyle diseases. These factors lead to a growing proportion of citizens needing significant medical care.

To counter this challenge, the World Health Organization (WHO) is promoting ICT-facilitated solutions, or eHealth, as key enablers for efficient healthcare services. Many countries across the world have already agreed that eHealth will play a major role in the future to improve access to high quality health care, and have declared action plans to adopt the new technologies.

According to a study by Harvard Medical School in 2008, administrative automation could cut 5% from total healthcare spending, which represents $100 billion in the US. This can be achieved through the simple reduction of adverse drug events, medical errors, and complications such as hospital acquired infections.

Similarly, overuse of emergency departments and unnecessary ordering of clinical and radiology tests results in losses totaling $55 billion each year. Massive expense could therefore be saved by implementing EMR systems in healthcare practices, and a large number of government initiatives aiming to capture such savings are expected to propel the future EMR market.

The EMR market is expected to be boosted by the large number of government initiatives taking place globally to transform patient records in electronic form. These initiatives offer huge financial incentives for hospitals and physician practices who adopt EMR. The global EMR market is expected to reach $7.8 billion in 2017, growing at a CAGR of 10% during 2010-2017. Within this, the US is the largest national EMR market, accounting for more than 32%.