For a concept as seemingly simple as an information system that stores and manages data, the electronic medical record (EMR) has experienced a remarkably difficult road to adoption. Many sectors, from banking to retail, embraced big data already a long time ago but, traditionally, the healthcare industry lagged behind. Reasons for this slow adoption include providers’ resistance to change, underinvestment in information technology and privacy concerns. Benefits of adopting EMRs are numerous and nicely laid out in the following info graphic.
But things are about to change, according to a report of McKinsey & Company, a new view of big data in the healthcare industry is reaching a tipping point. After a decade of digitizing medical records an era of open information in healthcare is now under way. In 2005, only about 30% of hospitals and office-based-physicians used basic EMRs. This figure rose to respectively 75% and more than 50% in 2011. Furthermore, around 45% of US hospitals are now participating in local or regional health-information exchanges. Adding to clinical data there exists claims and cost data, pharmaceutical R&D data and patient behavior and sentiment data, that holds great potential for value creation but remains upon today largely unclaimed.
Integrating these pools of information is required to transform healthcare today into a holistic, patient-centered medicine. A medicine that resembles the level of service of companies such as Amazon, Apple and Facebook, and characterized by Eric Topol‘s C’s (customized, collaborative, crowdsourced, connected and cloud computed).