In the rapidly changing healthcare space that we are in, the push for information transparency has taken the center stage along with the need to gain action-ready insights in a jiffy. More and more healthcare organizations are looking for data-driven ways to enhance patient-centric care and contain their expenditures. We are generating a lot more data in healthcare than ever before, but where does it go? What kind of system do we have to store the data that we bring together? Is the data safe? These questions make providers think twice before they invest their resources and time in any data center.
Why does healthcare need robust data systems?
The data influx is set to rise exponentially in the coming years. By 2020, the amount of healthcare data will rise to more than 2,300 exabytes- and this is just patient data. As the years pass, there would be a boost in reporting data, prescriptions, claims, and whatnot. Plus, with the internet of things (IoT) expanding, we’re set to have more and more interconnected smart devices, and emerging trends 3D imaging, the healthcare data will only increase. For example, a single MRI image now takes more than 100 MB of space in comparison to less than 50 MB in 2005. The data centers are becoming huge, sometimes as huge as the entire basement of the hospitals! The legacy data repositories are finding it hard to accumulate the diversity in data and scale as the data grows.
Ensuring security and integrity in healthcare data
One of the key issues with the digital data is ensuring security. Any organization dealing with healthcare data has to protect its beneficiaries by making sure their infrastructure is updated and correctly deployed.
Traditionally, healthcare organizations have preferred on-premise data warehouses over cloud data storage because of the control users have over their data. However, cloud storage facilities, on the other hand, are cheaper and have improved HIPAA compliance.
What needs to be understood here is that organizations still have challenges in binding together legacy systems while integrating new systems into the infrastructure. Many entities cannot afford to migrate data from one platform to another- not to mention the risks and vulnerabilities associated with it. This will only multiply as the number of data platforms grow and to piece them together and ensure a smooth transition of data, interoperability is becoming a necessity.
Data and analytics that guide the way
The data in healthcare is complex and unique. Crucial information could be stored in regular ADT feeds generated in a hospital. Or, the 835 files from a payer can have significant insights into the health of a population. Integrating patient data from various sources need powerful and flexible healthcare data platforms that can ingest multiple data formats such as CCDA, X12, HL7, SQL, among others. Similarly, gulping data from different EHRs is vital to comprehend actionable information out of the vast data chunks to deliver care across the continuum.
Healthcare organizations require a platform that is diverse, and smart enough to understand the different kinds of data and how they can deliver value. Organizations need to have visibility and control over their network to ensure that the value of data is tapped at all times.
The analytics, however, can have multiple facets. Two essential parameters of value-based care – Population Health Management (PHM) and preventive analysis – are primarily dependent on smart data analytics. The data, no matter how it is stored or what system is it coming from, shouldn’t hinder the care process. At all times, data should continue to add value and aid providers in their goal of cost-efficient care. Surfacing detailed, actionable insights from the data repositories are required to develop these patient-centric care plans. Varying patient data such as episode history, lab results, diagnosis, and other vitals should be clubbed through longitudinal healthcare data platforms in a transparent manner. All in all, the healthcare data platform should enable agile and accurate data integration of disparate sources.
The Road Ahead
Data is of little use unless brought together. As healthcare organizations continue to embrace the power of data, they have to ensure that they are ready to tap into it to its full potential. There has to be a balance between the utilization and security of data to make sure we don’t lose its value. And the final cog will be the need to streamline the flow of data so that healthcare organizations spend less time finding blind spots and delivering precise, data-driven insights as they lead their population to a better tomorrow.
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