The promise of big data insights permeates the healthcare industry almost more than any other, and for good reason.

With the amount of information being collected through hospitals, doctors’ offices, insurance companies, and also wearable and remote monitoring devices, healthcare companies are swimming in data. But those managing this sea of information might actually say they’re drowning in it.

With every hospital, lab and clinic using their own EMR, CRM, ERP or some other three-letter system with different format and protocol requirements, it’s easy for organizations to just wing it when managing sensitive information in motion and at rest. And with the passing of the Affordable Care Act and even more complex data movement patterns with health information exchanges, how do you reliably exchange information across locations, people and organizations to stay in compliance?

With multiple disparate systems in place—and many more people-centric data transfers to manage—it becomes impossible to effectively govern internal and external information flows to meet internal and external compliance mandates, such as HIPAA and HITECH. Effective data management is critical and might seem overwhelming, but there are some recommended best practices for making it a reality.

We’ve all heard the enticing tales about great riches gained from big data analytics initiatives or the massive savings from obtaining extra insights into daily operations. Having organized, quality information on demand for analysis can indeed deliver tremendous value to businesses, and the healthcare industry is rife with such success stories.

Some of the cool things happening in healthcare because of effective data management:

  • Preventive medicine: With preventable hospital readmission expenses blamed for $41 billion in additional healthcare costs every year, it pays to keep people out of the hospital. Insurance companies gather data to predict who will get sick and stave off these costly hospital visits, often discovering patient illnesses before they do. Aggregating billing claims, lab results, geography and family history enables one Philadelphia insurance company to pre-emptively assign coaching resources to higher-risk patients and begin work toward prevention well before a hospital visit.
  • Precision treatment: It’s common to tap big data to personalize treatments based on a patient’s very individualized genetic predisposition and family history to precisely treat an illness or disorder, prevent multiple return hospital trips for diagnosis and treatment, and set new precedents for managing similar diagnoses in the future.
  • Clinical research: With so much specialized pharmaceutical research going on in the public and private sectors, information sharing has expedited the progress of the often-lengthy clinical trial. Data-sharing among big pharmaceutical companies also has led to the discovery of peripheral benefits of certain drugs already approved by the FDA that can be plugged right into a study. Big data also could help identify better candidates for clinical trials that make more specific testing viable in shorter cycles and for less cost.
  • Outbreak prediction: While the Google Flu Trends project was largely deemed a failure, understanding patient-generated search and social media data opens up new avenues for gathering real-time information, not just the info collected from random doctor and clinic visits. The healthcare community learned a lot about how to leverage modern technology for data collection, collaboration and mining, which could deliver valuable insights and prevent devastating pandemics.

These are some of the promises of big data, but the path to extracting such great insights continues to be a challenging one. Before organizations can use all of that data, they must first manage it.

So how do we get healthcare organizations, many simply in the business of patient care, to naturally adopt “data care” and better manage their information flows?

What would it take to invest more in health data management? A data breach? Hefty government fines? Daily workflows grinding to a halt? A compelling event to address data management actually could be much more subtle than those, as healthcare facilities might on a daily basis experience:

  • Multiple log-ins on separate systems, creating mass inefficiencies in managing information on patient appointments, lab work and therapy sessions, leading to lost time and money.
  • Unnecessary manual workflows when healthcare personnel are too busy tracking down and filing information, especially the paper variety.
  • Incomplete patient files that could lead to redundant treatment, duplicate billings, and multiple phone calls, emails and other follow-ups.

If any of this sounds familiar, your organization is a strong candidate for better data management. Advanced technology that eliminates these workflow inefficiencies through effective data management delivers:

  • Holistic integration: Connect multiple information-generating sources, including all internal applications, B2B systems, and cloud solutions using a single platform that interoperates with existing applications and infrastructure.
  • Standardization: Port information from its original source, transform it into a usable format, and facilitate its reliable movement using data transformation technology that’s built into that single-platform integration solution.
  • Security: Healthcare is a highly targeted industry by hackers seeking non-secured devices, paper and information to net themselves big paydays, and data encryption in motion and at rest, with audit capabilities, is non-negotiable.
  • Governance: Managing data along its journey inside and outside the organization provides the structure and process to ensure maximum data quality and accuracy, keys to speeding up inpatient/outpatient processes, managing schedules, and improving patient care.
  • High-speed connectivity: Quickly and reliably move massive amounts of data between data lakes and other repositories to get specific, up-to-date information and trends in a timely fashion.

The trick is to find a reliable solution that seamlessly handles all of these requirements but also is easy to deploy, use and manage. What healthcare companies are exploring for effective data management starts and ends with a leading pervasive integration solution.

A highly interoperable pervasive integration solution supports seamless connectivity across every endpoint and secure data exchange via an easy-to-use interface with centralized administrative control. Deploying this advanced integration technology lays the foundation for operationalizing the highly coveted big data insights that revolutionize industries.

Healthcare organizations get the immediate benefit of more streamlined workflows and the long-term promise of insights using big data analytics. And ultimately, data care perpetuates more effective patient care and outcomes.

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