Most EHRs Unprepared To Integrate With Big Data, Other Technologies

October 14, 2014 in News

While providers plan to use big data, cloud computing, mobile health and social media to optimize their electronic health record systems, 96% say their health IT infrastructure is not yet prepared to integrate such technologies, according to a MeriTalk report released Monday, Government Health IT reports (Arrigo, Government Health IT, 10/13).

For the report, which was sponsored by EMC Corporation, researchers surveyed 151 hospital IT executives in August (MeriTalk release, 10/13).

Report Findings

The report found that many providers use such technologies, even though they are unprepared to fully integrate them with EHRs.

Specifically, two-thirds of providers said they run cloud-based EHR applications, with 49% using private cloud technology and 35% using hybrid or public cloud technology (Miliard, Healthcare IT News, 10/13).

In addition, the report found that about 50% of respondents use big data to reduce readmission rates and better track patient outcomes, while others use big data to conduct cost-benefit analyses. For example:

  • 38% said they use big data to manage IT and clinical staffing levels;
  • 46% said they use big data to reduce project risks; and
  • 24% said they use big data to prescribe preventive care.

Meanwhile, 57% of respondents said they use mobile IT to view patient information in real time. Further:

  • 46% said they use mobile IT for clinical notifications;
  • 41% said they use mobile IT for electronic prescribing; and
  • 38% said they use mobile IT to communicate with patients and send reminders.

In addition, 31% of respondents said they collect patient data from wearable devices.

Regarding social media use, the survey found:

  • 54% of providers said they use social media tools with their EHRs to spur collaboration; and
  • 52% said they use social media to communicate with patients and send follow-up messages or medication reminders.

Future Investments

According to the report, providers that have health IT infrastructure that is not integrated for such technologies said they were taking several steps to be more prepared, including:

  • 47% that said they plan to upgrade their security systems;
  • 38% that said they plan to improve application performance;
  • 31% that said they plan to invest in cloud technologies; and
  • 31% that said they plan to modernize their backup and recovery systems.

In addition, many providers expect 2015 IT spending to increase for big data, cloud technologies, mobile health and social media, potentially generating savings in 2016. Specifically, providers expect:

  • $7.2 billion in savings from big data, or 21% of their annual IT budgets;
  • $6.9 billion in savings from cloud technologies, or 20% of their annual IT budgets;
  • $5.5 billion in savings from mobile IT, or 16% of their annual IT budgets; and
  • $3.8 billion in savings from social media tools, or 11% of their annual IT budgets (Government Health IT, 10/13).
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