In a new study of the electronic medical records (EMR) industry, market research company Kalorama Information argues that EMR is the crucial component needed to make big data in healthcare a reality. First, however, solutions must be found for interoperability, adequate privacy protections, and data storage solutions.

According to the report, leading EMR vendors are investing heavily in technology and have joined forces to create the CommonWell Health alliance. The alliance, supported by EMR vendors such as Allscripts, athenahealth, Cerner, CPSI, Greenway and McKesson, aims to ensure that interoperability in health IT systems along with strong data protections.

The report also notes that with the growth of EMR, data storage is becoming a significant challenge. According to industry participants cited in the report, data storage requirements for the healthcare sector are doubling every 18 months, and the capacity to accommodate it is lagging behind. The best solution, according to the report, appears to be cloud storage.

For more information on the report, titled EMR 2014: The Market for Electronic Medical Records, visit the Kalorama Information website.