To clean data, or not to clean data—that is the question. Generating clean, high quality data is often considered to be the holy grail of analytics. However, John Showalter, MD, chief health information officer at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, believes that perfect can be the enemy of good.

According to Showalter, data “doesn’t need to be clean to be trusted.” In fact, he contends that cleaning data—an expensive, time-consuming process—does not improve analytics. “Send it dirty—whatever the lowest amount of effort is what I encourage you to do,” Showalter told an audience at HDM’s Healthcare Analytics Conference held last week in Chicago.

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