Early in my IT career, I became an expert in discarding data. Now, with data collection easier than ever, I wonder if it’s time to reconsider those early lessons.

My first healthcare IT job was installing the SMS Command database applications that included report writing, medical records, infection control and utilization review. The database structure parsed into Active and Historical data files. Data elements that did not move from the online system to the Active file were purged, according to user defined parameters. Likewise, user-defined parameters determined Active and Historical file data retention, based on pre-defined purge schedule.

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