Healthcare organizations have been working with large amounts of data for many years, and while the term big data is generating a buzz within the industry, the concept is far from new. Due to the rise in the prevalence and variety of healthcare IT systems put to use in hospitals, however, the sheer quantity of information being produced is reaching new heights.

The challenge for healthcare providers now face is making sure this data is accessible, accurate and actionable. In a recent article published by Healthcare IT News, Streamline’s president and CEO Robert E. Watson discusses the following best practices for healthcare organizations to manage data effectively:

  1. Data Governance: Many providers think they need to collect every bit of data they can, and they often find themselves swimming in a sea of useless information. Putting a data governance strategy in place early on helps guide an organization’s focus by determining what information is needed and why it is necessary.
  2. Centralized Repository: With information coming from multiple directions – the payer, the provider and the patient – healthcare data is uniquely fragmented compared to other industries. The ability to centralize all the necessary information is crucial, but a simple data warehouse is not sufficient. Organizations should implement a relational database capable of pulling from multiple, disparate sources and integrating all the data together.
  3. Data Accessibility: No matter how strong a hospital’s data might be, it’s of no use if it’s not easily accessible in real time. Executives need the ability to retrieve information in a simple format, rather than querying data scientists and waiting on results that may or may not be actionable.
  4. Quality Assurance: The results of an action are only as good as the information that drives the decision. To ensure that hospitals are achieving the best results possible, their data sets need to be evaluated for accuracy, consistency, thoroughness and timeliness. Only once data is properly assessed can an organization rely on its predictive value.
  5. Business Intelligence Technology: Up to 80 percent of healthcare data is still in an unstructured format. A comprehensive business intelligence solution that can incorporate this unstructured data and extract the most valuable information is a key component for any organization’s analytics strategy.

For more information, please click here to read the full article in Healthcare IT News.