My EMR Market Share Projection – 50% in the Next 5 Years

A lot of people like to throw around a lot of market share numbers for EMR and EHR adoption. One thing that’s clear in pretty much every number I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot) is that we still have a long way to go. Across all of these numbers there’s also a few other generally accepted principles:
-Small practices have a much lower EMR adoption percentage as compared with large practices
-Specialists have a higher EMR adoption percentage than general medicine doctors
-No one knows how to truly define what EMR adoption is in a survey

Taking in all my experience reading study after study and also my experience talking with hundreds and thousands of doctors, EMR vendors, consultants, etc about EMR adoption I’d put current EMR adoption somewhere around 25%. This isn’t any sort of scientific survey or approach. It’s just my feeling based on all my experience. Some might put it a little higher and some might put it a little lower, but I’d say most of that change is likely due to how they define EMR adoption.

A question I asked a number of people at HIMSS was where EMR adoption will be after the EMR incentive money has run its course. It’s a fun discussion to have amidst all your EMR and HIT nerd friends. However, it’s also an important business of healthcare question with lots of impacts based upon how EMR adoption goes.

My personal projection is that ONC should be really pleased if they achieve 50% EMR adoption by the end of the HITECH act (approximately 5 years). A number of really smart and involved people at HIMSS agreed with me on those numbers.

Yes, so I’m predicting that we’ll see about 25% of doctors adopt an EMR over the next 5 years. After those 5 years, I predict that the EHR adoption will really accelerate and we’ll see the other 30-40% EHR adoption in 2 years. Unfortunately, we’ll probably still have 10-20% on paper for various reasons.

I must admit that 50% adoption in 5 years still feels like we’re going to be missing out on some of the benefits of widespread EMR adoption. However, 90% adoption in 7 years doesn’t sound so bad. Maybe the older I get the shorter 7 years starts to sound.

While I like the sound of 90% EMR adoption, we can still do a lot of really good things in healthcare with only 50% adoption. Hopefully, the work I do on this and my other EMR websites helps to move the needle of EMR adoption a little bit. Not to mention help improve the rate of successful EMR adopters. That’s the goal.

What’s your take on where EMR adoption will go over the next 5 years?

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • I think doctors and hospitals will implement the affordable and clumsy point-and-click software, get the gov’t dough, then buy something that actually works–that is, if regulation and certification don’t totally quash innovation.

  • The government incentives are great and will certainly encourage many physicians to adopt and use EMRs, but there are still going to be physicians that resist the change for whatever reason. But when patients start to realize the benefits of seeing a doctor or practice that is using an EMR over a practice that is using paper charts, hopefully patient demand will pressure those physicians to embrace the new technology. Not getting the stimulus money is one thing, but losing existing revenue is another. I like to compare the transformation to EMR to the transformation the banking industry went through 10 – 15 years ago. If a bank had resisted the movement to online banking services, they would be out of business b/c the bank next door that offers online banking services would have taken all of their customers.
    When doctors start to lose their patients b/c of this, they will have no choice other than go out of business or bite the bullet and invest in EMR technology.

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