A new report from Kalorama Information, a New York-based research firm, estimates the U.S. electronic health records market at nearly $15.8 billion and predicts it will increase to $31.9 billion in 2015.

The revenue figures cover software systems, consulting, installation fees and training, but not hardware. Kalorama estimates the EHR market grew 10.5% in 2009 and 13.6%  in 2010, down from its previous estimates of 15 percent for both years.

The firm attributes the lower growth to initial confusion over meaningful use requirements, and some market uncertainty around certification of EHR products.

With Stage 1 of meaningful use underway, Kalorama expects significant EHR market growth over the next two years, with an 18.3% jump in 2011 followed by a 20.1% bump in 2012.

Growth will continue at a slower pace in subsequent years, with a 15.9% increase in 2013, 11.2% in 2014 and 10.5% in 2015, the company estimates. Other conclusions:

* There remains no clear EHR leader in the market with opportunities for new entrants, especially those with Web-based products;

* EHRs that best handle usability and interoperability issues should see leadership in the marketplace; and

* Government incentives need to be buttressed by hospital incentives, such as offering EHRs to affiliated physicians, to counter productivity loss and training burdens of physicians.

The report, "EMR 2011: The Market for Electronic Medical Record Systems," is available for purchase at kaloramainformation.com.

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