Few Organizations Have Infrastructure in Place to Handle Big Data

Although many providers are looking to implement cloud, big data, social, and mobile technologies within the next 2 years, if they haven't done so already, few healthcare organizations feel their infrastructures are prepared for this evolution of electronic medical records, according to a new study.

Nearly all healthcare organizations surveyed by MeriTalk said their infrastructures are not currently prepared for the evolution of electronic medical records (EMRs). However, many providers either have already implemented cloud, big data, social, and mobile technologies or plan to do so in the next 2 years.

MeriTalk surveyed 151 hospital information technology (IT) decision makers for its “FutureCare: Cloud, Big Data, Mobile, and Social Optimize the EMR” study. The majority of respondents said their organizations plan to increase their cloud (62%), big data (67%), social spending (60%), and mobile spending (72%). In return for this increased investment, they expect improved real-time data access, reduced overall cost of care, and improved overall operations.

Currently, providers are using big data to reduce avoidable readmissions, track and evaluate treatment outcomes, and cost/benefit analysis to reduce risk. More than half (57%) of health IT leaders say mobile allows caregivers to view real-time patient information and make more informed patient care decisions. And the top way organizations are using social with their EMR is to communicate with patients and send medication/follow-up reminders.

“It’s clear that cloud, big data, mobile, and social technologies can positively impact patient care delivery, population health, and achieve improved levels of fiscal efficiency,” David DeAngelis, healthcare general manager at EMC Corporation said in a statement.

Big data is expected to have the largest impact on budgets by helping providers save 21% of their annual IT budget, or $7.2 billion by 2016, according to the study. Cloud is projected to save $6.9 billion, mobile $5.5 billion, and social $3.8 billion of the annual IT budget by 2016.

At this point, just 4% of respondents said they are prepared for the evolution of the EMR, while 96% said their infrastructure needs more work. Enhancing security systems is the top planned EMR investment, according to 47% of respondents, followed by improving application performance (38%).

“Accurate diagnosis is the first step on the journey to a cure,” Steve O’Keeffe, founder of MeriTalk, said in a statement. “The healthcare industry needs to change its IT diet to ensure better healthcare outcomes for America.”