Who is benefitting?
The complaint that introduction of incentives around this legislation has benefitted the vendors of EMR solutions rather than the medical community and healthcare users as a whole is best summed up by a quote in the article from Jonathan Bush, co-founder of the cloud-based firm Athenahealth, who states, "The biggest players drew this incredible huddle around the rule-makers and the rules are ridiculously favorable to these companies and ridiculously unfavorable to society". However, this rush to take financial advantage of new legislation can be seen in almost any industry, whether the legislation is lobbied for those who directly gain or not. The fact remains that the future of EMRs is bright with the potential for medical improvement.
But, the path to Big Data analytics for most healthcare providers will be difficult. Most providers have a hodgepodge of siloed systems and databases that don’t have good points of integration. Moreover, typically there is no common understanding of the data under management and thus it’s difficult to determine the analytical models, even in the abstract.
So, while the outcomes might not be great so far, this lack of progression can't necessarily be tied to one piece of the puzzle. The potential is still there in big data and EMR to create a better medical future.
Outcomes so far
That's not to say that the medical world is yet to see any benefits from EMRs and the overall data-driven approach. Here are three examples of benefits that could be seen the world over.
EMRs also offer greater accessibility to documents. Got a lot of patient documents to store and recall? That makes this a big data issue. According to Tom Poulter, head of Information Management and Technology at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, the Wirrel, Merseyside, in an InformationWeek article on the
digitization of medical records: "The main benefit we see coming out of digitization is accessibility," he said. "We want information to be easier to access and share by our clinicians for the benefit of our patients".
The ability to combine different data sets, including those found in EMRs, will continue to produce medical benefits, as Kurt Roots pointed out in The 'Healthy' Reasons to Combine Disparate Data Sets on Big Data Republic: "As the privacy frontier continues to recede, particularly in the US, policy will give way to practice allowing these emerging technologies to deliver "healthy" reasons to combine and analyze disparate data sets."
Do you see the benefits?
Do the benefits stand up to the huge profits organizations are making from this lobby for legislation? Or are EMRs too slow to produce tangible results considering the financial incentives behind them? Comments welcome below.
Re: Too much profit? @Susan well, we are about to devolve to our GPS surgeries the power (read money) to commission services themselves from hospitals and clinics rather than the regional health authority.
So there is very little chance of standardistation now!
"A huge part of the problem is the absence of a set of standards for EMR systems. But in order to do so, the cooperation of firms worldwide is required, and it might even call for the establishment of a body to make sure that providers adhere to the standards."
User Rank: Petabyte Pathfinder 3/5/2013 | 11:18:11 AM
Re: Too much profit? Aside from language barriers, I would think there would also be confusion as to certain spelling or terminology, even how values or figures are recorded even. Looks like a lot of work ahead for whoever will take the plunge!
User Rank: Petabyte Pathfinder 3/5/2013 | 11:12:14 AM
Re: Too much profit? I agree with Susan. A huge part of the problem is the absence of a set of standards for EMR systems. But in order to do so, the cooperation of firms worldwide is required, and it might even call for the establishment of a body to make sure that providers adhere to the standards. Sounds tedious, but it's a good investment.
Re: Too much profit? Yes there are the single case scenarios of course @Susan... but when these organisations begin to pull together broader terms there might be bigger concerns. I was just so caught up on a) overall data privacy in medical and b) international data laws - that language just didn't occur to me.
You'd better give it some thought then, as it's one of the first things to think about when thinking of cross-border projects, and standarization across Europe.
Of course there is not too much to think here, the language of business, and international issues is English.
In any case, previous records in electronic format should be translated at least in the case of patients with serious conditions who are ore would be having treatment in different countries. (I should find that project)