Healthcare execs see EMR data as their most valuable asset

More than three-quarters of healthcare executives surveyed by PricewaterhouseCoopers say that information contained in EMRs could become their most valuable asset over the next five years as "secondary use" of EMR data takes off. But this won't happen until technology improves, more standards get harmonized and, most importantly, the healthcare industry resolves lingering privacy concerns, according to a PwC survey released early this morning.

With billions of dollars in federal health IT stimulus funds set to flow into healthcare in the next few years, secondary use of electronic health data will "grow exponentially," PwC says, citing a finding that 65 percent of healthcare executives expect their data-mining activity to spike within two years. About 90 percent of respondents believe that secondary use of EMR data will help their organizations make significant improvement to the quality of care.

There may be some legal barriers to overcome, however, before healthcare organizations can unleash the full power of patient-specific healthcare data. Also of concern to healthcare executives are privacy implications of data mining and the bad PR that could result from unauthorized use. This study literally just hit the wires, but we can't wait to hear Dr. Deborah Peel's thoughts on this last point.

For more:
- have a look at this PricewaterhouseCoopers press release
- download the PwC report