Infection surveillance systems, lab outreach services and patient acuity applications are poised for growth in the U.S. hospital IT market, according to new research from HIMSS Analytics.

The three applications have the “most attractive” opportunities because the market for them is not saturated and sales volumes are projected to grow, said Lorren Pettit, vice president of market research at HIMSS Analytics. The growth projections are in the recently released summer 2014 edition of the HIMSS Analytics Essentials of the U.S. Hospital IT Market report.

“As the healthcare IT industry shifts its focus to technology that empowers clinical efficacy and preventative care, it is not surprising that first-time sales outlook for these three applications is so positive,” said Pettit. “The findings suggest that opportunities for lab and nursing application vendors are ripe in this maturing market.”

The report, which profiles 27 clinical applications used at more than 5,000 U.S. hospitals, includes a matrix analysis of market penetration against projected sale volumes. Data from the HIMSS Analytics database reveals that two nursing category applications (infection surveillance systems and patient acuity applications) and a laboratory application (outreach services) represent “notable opportunities” for health IT vendors.

The 27 applications profiled in the report, a majority of which are characterized as “standard business tools” given relatively high market penetration levels, fall into five categories: cardiology and cardiology picture archiving and communication system (CPACS), laboratory, nursing, select service lines, and utilization review. Ten of the 27 applications analyzed have market adoption rates of 75 percent or more. However, the market penetration rates for infection surveillance systems (44.8 percent), outreach services (43.2 percent) and patient acuity applications (35.7 percent) are significantly lower.

“The infection surveillance system application in the nursing category and the outreach services application in the laboratory category are projected to be in demand with a sizeable market yet to be harvested,” concludes the HIMSS Analytics report.

The report also projected the five-year trajectory of each application’s sales volume (first time and replacement buyers) based on a number of variables, including historical growth rates. Seven applications are projected to experience an acceleration of 1 percent or more in their annual growth trajectory: outcomes and quality management (9.8 percent), patient acuity (3.9 percent), infection surveillance system (3.5 percent), nurse staffing/scheduling (2.3 percent), blood bank (2.1 percent), anatomical pathology (2.1 percent), and outreach services (2 percent).

“For outcomes and quality management, we’re projecting an accelerated growth and a lot of that is going to be in replacement sales,” said Pettit. “Hospitals currently have those tools and we’re projecting that they’re going to be replacing them.”

However, on the other end of the spectrum, three applications are projected to experience a deceleration of more than 1 percent or more in their annual growth trajectory: respiratory care information system (-2.7 percent), intensive care (-4.6 percent), and CPACS (-5.2 percent).

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