Now that the healthcare industry has largely made the transition to electronic health records (EHRs), most hospitals and independent providers have become inundated with massive amounts of data.
It’s one thing to be able to capture data, but quite another to derive meaningful information from it. Enter the healthcare analytics sector, which delivers crucial insights that can help organizations survive and thrive.
According to a 2014 survey conducted by CDW Healthcare of 150 healthcare decision-makers, the healthcare analytics conversation has made it to the C-suite. More than two-thirds of respondents, which included chief technology officers and chief medical officers, stated that analytics is one of their organization’s top three priorities. They also reported their most pressing analytics challenges as combining data, managing data volumes, and ensuring interoperability.
The management of such complex and extensive datasets requires a data storage solution that makes the information easily accessible and shareable. The stored data must also protect patient privacy so that healthcare organizations prevent data breaches and avoid costly HIPPA fines. Forward-thinking healthcare organizations straining under the crush of big data are beginning to view the enterprise data warehouse (EDW) as a viable option for collecting and securing their mission-critical clinical and administrative data.
The EDW for healthcare offers a powerful solution to the problems surrounding data mining and analysis, the latter of which helps to inform clinical and operational decisions. In the healthcare setting, data is typically stored in disparate systems. These data silos don’t lend themselves to giving easy access to specific data when needed. Even still, after precious time has been spent locating the data, it may be stale and thus fail to provide a true picture of the organization’s health. The EDW is designed to streamline the aggregation and organization of data across the organization. The value-add of an EDW is that it makes data available in near real-time. Authorized users with access to the EDW can perform analyses of the data to gain operational insight and use this information to create reports for their organizations’ financial, administrative, operational, and clinical units.
An EDW automates the process of combining different data sets and structures to create a single, longitudinal patient record. The solution should streamline the ingestion of data from all HIT systems of the enterprise. This process also includes normalizing data across systems to a standardized language. Only then will users be able to gain insights from previously non-structure data.
Once the EDW is deployed, healthcare organizations can assess how they are performing from clinical, financial, and operational standpoints, ultimately leading to decreased costs and greater business intelligence.