The historic Health Care Reform that Congress passed last night puts America on a path to be competitive with every other industrialized nation. But it is good for the storage industry as well.
Electronic medical records As I noted back in '06:
Medical records are one of the biggest storage opportunities of the next decade – if Americans can be persuaded they are secure. Right now they aren’t, and with the continuing stories about lost laptops and illegal data access, there is no reason for people to get comfortable. Without public support electronic medical record systems are dead and millions of Americans will suffer from medical delay and even death.
HCR fixes part of the problem: outlawing insurance denials based on pre-existing conditions removes a big fear of electronic medical records (EMR). There is still the issue of medical privacy (see Medical privacy is a sick joke), but that is fixable.
Well implemented, EMR, along with other process re-engineering, can deliver the same results for citizens that it did for the Veterans Administration health care system (see Effect of the Transformation of the Veterans Affairs Health Care System on the Quality of Care from the peer-reviewed New England Journal of Medicine).
The net/net: a common, uniform, EMR takes better care of patients, virtually eliminates prescription errors, enables large-scale studies of treatment protocols, and ensures that a highly mobile population gets consistent care. Its all good - and massive storage makes it go.
The Storage Bits take EMR will drive massive growth of medical data, both locally in doctor's offices and in hospitals, but also in the cloud. Large anonymized data sets will be popular for research - expect Amazon to store them for free - on everything from treatment outcomes to drug interactions and patient education techniques.
While political conservatives demonize science and data-driven policies, the real world work of doing better with less continues. Massive EMR data will be a key driver over the next decades for improving outcomes and reducing costs.
Note: Data geeks will like this: Florence Nightingale was not only a public health reformer, but a statistician and pioneer in data visualization. Check this out for details.
Courteous comments welcome, of course. Kudos to the Republicans for their principled work to protect
campaign contributions every American's God-given right to a premature and bankrupt death. But they lost, and a bit of our freedom dies with them.