The exchange of healthcare data for various reasons is a touchy topic. Privacy, security, storage, and many other concerns contribute to the barriers we see today accessing healthcare data.
However, in this blog, we will be focusing on healthcare data and various data sets associated with it. This blog will also try to shed some light on the benefits of having access to high-quality healthcare data and the challenges organizations face with its access to data. We will try to answer how Ampliz can pull various barriers down and makes the healthcare data available at your fingertips.
So coming back to the point, what is healthcare data?
Healthcare data refers to the multi-dimensional data recorded to diagnose, prevent, and treat health-related issues. The main ingredients of any healthcare data are professionals, facilities, and financing authorities.
While the above three are primary data categories, they can be further subdivided based on various health sectors like medicine, physiotherapy, psychology, nursing, midwifery, dentistry, etc. Healthcare professionals can be divided based on the type of care or their expertise in their field. Along with all these, there is also the patient data, which is highly private in nature.
The critical issue that the industry has been facing is digitizing the healthcare story. The story that has so many players involved has been on pen and paper from 1600BC until recently. However, it is worth noting that many healthcare facilities still have pen and paper system and are having difficulty migrating to the digital healthcare data management systems. The digital healthcare data is formally known as Electronic Health Record (EHR). A division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine or the Institute of Medicine coined the term EHR (Electronic Health Records) in 2003.
What are the types of health datasets?
After EHR formed, it divided health data into three primary types:
- Healthcare professionals (Nurses, Physicians)
- Healthcare facilities (Hospitals, diagnostic centers, Clinics, Equipment Used)
- Healthcare financing authorities
One can further categorize them on the type of health sector (medicine, psychology, physiology, or dentist), type of care, and expertise in their respective trade. The biggest challenge is categorizing them into their separate boxes as sometimes people show expertise in multiple disciplines.
Why are they important?
The importance of the healthcare data is different for different players involved in various capacities.
- Better healthcare services: Healthcare data involves professionals, facilities, insurance companies’ data, and other financing authorities. However, the data is not limited to these. Health data also has patient medical history and how they react to various therapies and medications. This information is of immense value and very private to the patient. It helps in providing the best possible healthcare services to people. If it is regular, hospitals and clinics can invest in the right medical equipment or other services to provide better service. So better data management in healthcare can help provide better services that can increase survivability and improve people’s overall health.
- Improved communication between parties: Healthcare data is just like massive marketing data in your CRM system that helps synergize the communication between sales and marketing teams. Similarly, healthcare data helps to synergize communication between doctors and patients, between parties teams involved like sales and marketing departments of healthcare companies like staffing and medical equipment. Healthcare data simplifies in identifying priorities and communicating effectively to each other.
- Better decisions: Data drive decisions. It is not only true for big enterprises but also healthcare facilities and providers. Data allows staff to see the bigger picture that is usually obscure and helps to make better decisions. In-depth research and analytics help define the most significant problems, more or less simplifying the issue at hand. It further aids in devising more straightforward solutions for the issues.
- Better medical facilities: Healthcare related problems are far more impactful and threatening than any common business problem. Any incompatibility in treatment can cause disaster. To avoid such situations, electronic health records or healthcare data comes in quite handy. One has to understand that healthcare data is not just for healthcare providers or facilitators. It holds great value for insurance companies, equipment makers, and other interested parties. Having this goldmine of data is a way to save money while providing a minimum viable product that is beneficial for all the parties involved and improving the medical facilities overall.
How are databases used in healthcare?
To understand how organizations use healthcare databases, one needs to see what databases are available to healthcare apart from EHR (electronic health records), which is a crucial part of Ampliz’s offering to its customers.
We described EHR previously, so here are some other healthcare databases that are also quite important:
- Practice management system
- Costing system
- Patient satisfaction
- Ambulatory surgery
- Financial system
- HR system
- A claims database (which isn’t theirs to manage but which needs to be integrated)
All of the above databases store detailed information. The practice management system holds all the possible details on practicing doctors or physicians, and interns. EHR stores all the information related to healthcare, from personnel information to data on facilities and financing.
Costing System holds data specific to financial data of daily running of various facilities and what is the actual cost incurred to run them flawlessly. Patient Satisfaction has the record of medical history patients, what treatments were provided to get rid of their ailment, how satisfied were they with the service, and whom all were involved in delivering impeccable service.
The ambulatory surgery database records all the patients and doctors involved in a surgery where a patient was discharged the same day of the surgery and did not stay overnight. The radiology database records all the radiologists’ data in various parts of the region and the different patients’ information on which they performed radiology.
Pathology database is very similar to radiology, with detailed reports of all the patients, their ailments, treatment is given, or the complete medical records on a case-by-case basis. The financial data system holds information about various facilities and how funds are sourced and disbursed across the organization.
HR system in healthcare is like any HR system of any organization used for staffing and managing personnel across the organization. A claims database is managed by the claims department and insurance company to understand individual medical cases and disburse the required funds.
What are the benefits and barriers?
High-quality data and data management systems go hand in hand. One can reap immense benefits with these in place, especially in healthcare. Here are some advantages you can leverage:
- Have a comprehensive view of the healthcare requirements of a healthcare facility or a group
- Improved engagement while selling medical equipment
- Better health outcomes by understanding the trends and taking proactive measures
- Take better business decisions by understanding data to find whom to recruit, where to invest, what medical equipment to buying, and where to focus efforts.
- Create better products by understanding ailments, medical practices administered, physicians involved, and how each of them interacts with each other.
The main barriers to accessing essential healthcare data are:
- Fragmented data: medical data is stored in various formats native to the organization. The information is collected and copied several times with organizations like insurance companies, public affairs organizations, and multiple organizations store it in their preferred format. Sometimes it leads to fragmented data.
- Length of data validity: Healthcare data is in a state of constant flux. Medical treatments, symptoms, diseases keep evolving, so the need to tackle them. So updating information is of much importance in healthcare. The data that seems valid today becomes invalid tomorrow, so keeping up the quality and maintain the validity of data is the biggest challenge.
- Data regulations and compliance: Healthcare data is a touchy topic given the healthcare data’s private nature. The USA and EU have put down many laws and compliance in place to take care of the issue. The US has the USA Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to manage data compliance and healthcare privacy. HIPAA performs audits to meet the regulatory requirement and keeps an eye on various parties to maintain data privacy.
- Scalability: Due to the pandemic, there is a sudden inflow of data related to various scans like MRIs, CT scans, and other test results. The data has grown in petabytes, so organizations need highly scalable, low-cost data storage solutions.
- Vendor-neutral archive: VNA or vendor-neutral archive is the one interface to various kinds of healthcare information regularly updated. Due to strict compliance in place, they don’t allow every storage platform to integrate with them. So having VNA integration is a must for healthcare data providers.
- Data resiliency and protection: Healthcare data is a gold mine. Therefore it is threatened by cyber-attacks constantly. Storage and loss of data is a significant risk for the data providers. Data providers should have appropriate replication or backup systems in place to secure the information.
How Ampliz does help in pulling down these barriers to healthcare data?
Ampliz Healthcare intelligence is one of the bestselling and most reliable healthcare data out there. Signing up with us can give you access to our global data of hospitals, physicians, and other target key decision-makers who value your offering. We house more than 4.5 million physicians, 8000+ hospitals, 230+ thousand executives’ contacts. All these data are available at your fingertips with accuracy beyond 95%. We can customize the data fields to adhere to your requirements. It allows creating custom audiences to get the maximum out of your sales and marketing campaigns.