Electronic Health Records & The Data of Health Care

Data science holds great promise for the healthcare industry, but potential applications can only work if health care data is collected in digitized form.

One of the first steps toward health care innovation is the transition to Electronic Health Records (EHRs), a process that is already being implemented in offices and hospitals across the United States.

What Data is In Your Health Record?

Electronic Medical Record (EMR)

The digital version of traditional paper charts in medical practices: unique to individual providers.

Electronic Health Records (EHR)

The digitized comprehensive patient history from all the clinicians involved in a patient’s care, regardless of practice or specialty.

This Data Includes

  • Diagnoses
  • Medications
  • Immunizations
  • Family medical Histories
  • Provider Contact Information

Why Go Digital

Pros of EHR

Measures data over time.

  • Rapid collection of and easy access to patient data.
  • Recognizes and classifies patients who need preventative care.
  • Software design may require collection of ALL necessary information, making records more complete.
  • Keeps track of how a patient’s medical profile compares to the rest of the population.
  • Consolidated records are accessible via any computer in your network.
  • EHR Software can be updated regularly to remain in touch with latest billing practices and codes.

“Rather than using a ‘gut-level’ approach in an uncertain situation, physicians can instead use a decision-making tool that ‘learns’ from patient histories to identify health status and probable outcomes.”

-Ilias Tagkopoulos, Assistant Professor at UC Davis

Adoption of EHR Software

Office-based physician use of any type of EHR system

2001  (18%)

2009  (48%)

2011  (54%)

2013  (78%)

U.S. physician offices using EHR software

2013  (50.3%)

2014  ( 61%)

Adoption by site ownership

Hospital owned (70.7%)

Non-Hospital owned (58.8%)

Health system owned (71.4%)

Non-health system owned (59%)

Top 5 specialties to adopt

Dialysis (80.6%)

Internal Medicine/ Pediatrics (75.8%)

Nephrology (70.5%)

Pathology (69.4%)

Radiology (69.2%)

Bottom 5 specialties to adopt

Addiction Medicine (44%)

Bariatrician (40.6%)

Psychiatric (39.7%)

Holistic Medicine (37.2%)

Preventative Medicine (35.9%)

Top 5 states to adopt

Utah (71.6%)

South Dakota (71.2%)

Wyoming (71%)

Iowa (70.8%)

North Dakota (69.2%)

Bottom 5 states to adopt

New York (54.6%)

Louisiana (54.1%)

District of Columbia (53.6%)

New Jersey (53%)

Rhode Island (52.1%)

Is It Working?  

Electronic Health Records may reduce outpatient care costs by 3%

In a 2013 study from Kaiser Permanente, EHR use for patients with diabetes mellitus led to:

29 fewer department visits per 1,000 patients annually.

13 fewer hospitalizations per 1,000 patients annually.

In 2013, EHRs reduced the cost of Canadian care redundancies (duplicates tests and adverse drug reactions) by $560,000

What’s Next?

By 2019, the majority of physicians will have adopted a basic EHR system

76% primary care physicians in small practices

90% primary care physicians in larger practices

78% Specialty care physicians

“In the next 10 years, data science and software will do more for medicine than all of the biological sciences together.”

-Vinod Khosla, Venture capitalist

Berkeley School of Information



  1. http://www.healthit.gov/providers-professionals/electronic-medical-records-emr
  2. http://www.healthit.gov/providers-professionals/faqs/what-are-differences-between-electronic-medical-records-electronic
  3. http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-03/19/larry-page-ted
  4. http://www.fastcoexist.com/3024778/world-changing-ideas/medical-science-meets-data-scence
  5. http://www.skainfo.com/health_care_market_reports/EMR_Electronic_Medical_Records.pdf
  6. http://info.healthdirections.com/blog/bid/315051/Study-suggests-use-of-ehr-System-slows-the-rise-of-healthcare-costs
  7. http://healthcare.adsc.com/blog/bid/309915/pros-and-cons-of-electronic-health-records
  8. http://jarna.jarnanetwork.com/article.aspx?articled=1737043
  9. http://www.cdc.gov/niche/data/databriefs/db143.htm
  10. http://www.cdc.gov//niche/data/databriefs/db98.htm
  11. http://medcitynews.com/2013/11/ehr-adoption-reduce-cost-providing-patient-care/
  12. http://www.cms.gov/mmr/downloads/MMRR2013_003_02_A02.pdf
  13. http://www.ihealthbeat.org/articles/2014/3/19/study.ehr.data.can.be.leveraged.to.accurately.predict.sepsis