PwC made these predictions after the completion of a survey of 1,000
U.S. adults on their attitudes toward health care issues. Results were
combined with an analysis of regulatory, government and economic issues
that will affect health care next year.
"2012 will be a seminal year for the health industries as businesses
wade through economic, regulatory and political uncertainty," said Kelly
Barnes, U.S. health industries practice leader at PwC. "One of the ways
the health industry is responding to these uncertainties is by
connecting in new ways with each other and their consumers as they
rethink existing business models and previous notions about competition,
cooperation and collaboration."
Health informatics is viewed by many organizations as a means to
improve patient care. PwC predicts that in 2012, health care
organizations will invest more in information technology and forge
data-sharing partnerships with other organizations, including those with
whom they may be in competition.
The PwC survey found that 60% of the population would be comfortable
sharing data if they were used to coordinate care, and 54% would agree
to sharing it if the data were used to support real-time decision-making
for their care. Other data uses patients support include an analysis of
their doctor's performance (36%) and identifying at-risk patients
But patients want their data to be handled securely, according to the
report, and would choose one health care organization over another for
its ability to secure their information.
In a separate report published in September, PwC found that nearly
three-quarters of health care organizations said they are using, or
intend to use, patient data for purposes other than treating patients.
But only 47% said they have addressed privacy and security risks
associated with those uses.
Its recent survey of patients found that 30% would select a hospital
with clear privacy and security policies over another if cost, quality
and access were equal.
Technology and access to information also would influence the
decision of many patients, according to PwC. Twenty-eight percent would
select a health care organization that offered online doctor
consultations over others that didn't, 17% would make that choice based
on facilities that use an electronic medical record, and 5% would pick
one that had a social media presence over one that did not.
The report found that social media will play a greater role in health
care organizations' strategies to improve health outcomes. The survey
found that nearly one-third of survey respondents, including half of
those under 35, have used social media channels for health care
"As more stakeholders enter the data-sharing mix through digitized
records, mobile devices, social media and health databases, health care
organizations need to build more granular access-control models to
prevent overexposure of information," the report's authors wrote.