Modern healthcare organizations are rapidly adopting new technologies, and it’s incredible to see all the latest technologies available to doctors. However, healthcare data has yet to leverage this forward-thinking strategy.
Even the most tech-driven healthcare institutions need help improving data integration and management. Healthcare data management systems typically provide access to in-house data but need to do more to aggregate different data sources and deliver unified data to end users. The right data integration strategy can help you make data-driven decisions and provide better frontline care.
The Benefits of Data Integration
Data integration combines data from disparate sources into a unified dataset to enable better analytics and decision-making. For example, healthcare data integration pulls data from multiple electronic health record (EHR) systems into one unified source, providing healthcare practitioners with all the information they need in one place for standardized, high-quality care. There’s an enormous amount of healthcare data waiting to be leveraged. Healthcare providers collect patients’ personal information and medical history during each visit, which can be used to identify effective preventive strategies, minimize inefficiencies, and reduce costs. Poor data integration can lead to fragmented or incomplete patient information, resulting in compromised care and wasted critical resources.
Capabilities Required for Effective Integration
Effective data integration enables a dynamic, 360-degree view of patient information for accurate, real-time decision-making. You need the following capabilities to deliver effective integration:
Adopt a Standardized Healthcare Model
Combining data from disparate data sources into a unified model can improve the productivity of your analytics team. Standardizing proprietary medication and lab result codes also streamlines processes and unlocks productivity.
Improve Data Quality and Master Data Management
Data quality ensures that you can trust your data. Effective master data management ensures that the data generated by patients, care providers, healthcare facilities, and business units are managed effectively. You can then connect all your transactional, clinical, and financial data for integrated reporting and analytics.
Data Integration Use Cases in Healthcare
Data integration can eliminate data gaps and improve data access for everyone, including doctors, patients, other healthcare staff, and third-party service providers. With a unified view of patient information, you can improve outcomes in several use cases:
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for universal data access. Healthcare providers realized they needed a high-level view of their hospitals and systems that could integrate data effectively from different sources to take proactive measures. Instead, they had to rely on disconnected data that could not shed light on how changes in one area impacted others. Healthcare providers can use data integration solutions to provide better data access for end-users during a health crisis. They could combine data from several sources and store it in a cloud data warehouse, serving as the single source of truth to drive crisis-response decisions among patients, healthcare providers, regulators, and frontline workers.
Drug development is a complex process that requires significant time, effort, and financial resources before a new drug can launch. Reports find that the average cost of launching a new drug in the market is $1.3 billion. Data integration enables researchers to access valuable information from different sources and use it to advance their drug development research.
Diagnosis is critical to patient care because it determines treatment. However, diagnoses are far from perfect, and almost 80,000 deaths in the US are attributed to diagnostic errors annually. While we have the data needed to run tests and achieve an accurate diagnosis, ineffective data integration often undermines results.
Reliable data integration can help healthcare organizations use data to build holistic views of their patients and deliver personalized treatment. Instead of solely relying on their records, healthcare practitioners can build diagnostics informed by the accurate medical history of a patient. A comprehensive view helps them understand the connection between contrasting symptoms, provide an accurate diagnosis, and deliver effective treatment.
Public Health Management
Data integration was instrumental in identifying and treating high-risk patients during COVID-19. Healthcare institutions pooled their data to identify patients whose medical histories put them at greater risk of serious illness, create predictive models, and take a more proactive approach to their treatment.
Healthcare providers recognize the potential of data integration for public health management. You can integrate disparate data from hospital databases, medical websites, fitness devices, and mobile apps to provide deeper insights into the health needs of a populace or demographic. Healthcare professionals and governments can use this data to take preventive measures and prevent possible crises.