3 Key Issues Compromising Optimal Data Quality in Healthcare

With an industry that has experienced rapid and dramatic changes to its systems and processes, evaluating data quality in healthcare is more critical than ever before when it comes to improving patient care and reducing costs due to waste and fraud. Rising healthcare costs coupled with the increasing complexity of data systems make the implementation of master data management tools essential for any organization wanting to provide better care at lower costs.

The trend to a more evidence-based approach to treatment involves capturing and collecting all of the available data on a patient for deeper insights and improved coordination of care throughout the patient’s lifetime. This is unattainable if you do not have a comprehensive data governance program in place that is tailored to the objectives and mission of your organization. Here are three common issues that can be roadblocks to reaching and maintaining optimal data quality in your healthcare organization.

Volume of Unstructured Data

One of the challenges of ensuring accurate data quality is the sheer amount of unstructured data in healthcare, which accounts for about 80% of all information in the industry. This unstructured data includes doctor’s notes, medical correspondence, imaging reports, and output from medical devices, all of which can help convey a more 360-degree view of the patient. These deeper insights provided by the capture and analysis of both unstructured and structure data can impact diagnoses and treatments. Organizing and managing structured and unstructured data influences the overall outcomes your healthcare organization can deliver. As the amount of reimbursements tied to improved outcomes continues to increase under the Affordable Care Act, this will be key to your organization’s bottom line moving forward.

Data management software that can process large data sets in real time can help your organization standardize and streamline the process for identifying, gathering, and analyzing all of the available data on a patient. An efficient data management software platform will allow your organization to establish a centralized location from which all data can be easily managed and shared.

Data is the Focus Rather Than the Basis for Action

Data serves different purposes across all organizations, but its primary role is almost always to be used as support material for drawing actionable conclusions via analysis. The numbers exist so as to help improve patient and clinician experience, streamline processes, and enhance the overall functionality of your healthcare organization. One of the key issues that gets in the way of the utility of Big Data is focusing on the numbers themselves rather than what they actually mean. If meetings tend to focus on micro-level data details instead of how they relate to the organization in real-world terms, it is time to review the processes you have in place for data governance.

Just One Data Steward in Your Organization

In almost every organization, there exists just one person who serves as the expert when it comes to data governance. This is the individual who has been around for years and can accurately define, manage, and organize your company’s data. Once this data steward leaves, your organization’s data management can fall apart because no one else fully understands the architecture of your IT systems. In order to prevent data silos from negatively affecting your organization, your data steward must disseminate their knowledge to other employees who can then have a greater stake in data governance. If your organization has a chief data officer (CDO), it is his or her duty to see that data standards are implemented and that there is a unified set of data policies and procedures enforced across the entire organization through a data governance program. If your organization does not have a CDO or an executive-level leader specifically in charge of your company’s data, there is a potential for revenue loss due to waste and fraud as well as regulatory compliance failures that could dramatically impact your organization’s credibility.

Black Oak was just named one of the Top 100 Most Promising Big Data Solution Providers. For more information about how to achieve optimal data quality, contact us today!

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