Medical Data Management Challenges and Solutions
February 5th, 2021
Medical data management has many challenges. For every challenge, there is a solution. Explore the possibilities in this post.
Medical data management may only be three words, but it’s so complex! Most all healthcare organizations deal solely with digital data. The volume keeps growing, regulations are constantly changing, and exchanging it continues to be cumbersome.
If you’re struggling with managing your medical data, we’re going to break down the top challenges and provide some practical solutions.
What Is Medical Data Management?
Generally speaking, it describes the organization of healthcare data and how you use it. It can include everything from what’s in EHRs to pharmacy systems to other health information systems (HIS). While the principle is simple, the execution is not. Let’s talk about those challenges.
Challenges with Medical Data Management
Within your organization, you may have multiple EHRs and HIS. That means data lives in different silos. Further, there are many formats, some of which are specialized. Often, this means you don’t have a single source of truth. Systems can’t talk to each other, so having a holistic view of patient information is difficult.
Solving Fragmented Data
- Striving toward interoperability: The road to healthcare interoperability has many potholes because standardization is still lacking. Without integrated systems, fragmentation remains. Organizations should develop a strategic roadmap to at least have internal interoperability.
- Purging duplicates and old data: Your systems may have lots of duplicate information, or it may be inaccurate and stale. Now, you can’t just delete everything due to medical record retention laws. However, you can clean your data by removing duplicates and removing anything that’s no longer necessary to keep legally.
The Volume Is Staggering and Causing Performance Issues
The more data in your software, the more strain on them. Each day, clinicians and others add more and more. That can overwhelm systems and could increase your costs for hosting it. The question becomes, do you need it all in your active system?
Solving Volume Issues
The best way to decrease the volume is to archive what’s inactive but cannot be purged. If the requirements say that you have to keep those records, yet you know the person is no longer a patient, then move it to a secure, cloud-based archive. You can access it if you need it, but it’s not impacting your platforms. Data archiving is a cost-effective and efficient way to reduce volume.
Deriving Insights from Data
Patient data is valuable for many reasons. First, it helps improve care for that specific individual. Second, you can anonymize the data and use it in predictive models for various end uses. Those could include:
- Public health initiatives (i.e., databases regarding COVID-19 infections, treatment, and long-term symptoms).
- Determining organizational performance (i.e., how long does it take to see patients or other questions).
- Predictive modeling regarding supplies (i.e., finding out the most in-demand prescriptions are so you can stock better).
Solving the Analytics Problem
To unravel this challenge requires several components. You’ll need a secure way to aggregate data and share it within platforms. Then you’ll need an analytics engine to do the assessment. There are lots of tools that can do this that use AI and machine learning. That’s where the future of any data management is heading. Custom data solutions will likely be necessary.
Regulations and Compliance
Medical data is special, and there are lots of laws that tell you how to collect and use it. The central law is HIPAA, but others impact healthcare data.
Every healthcare entity must balance compliance with usability. Most have workflows and protocols that mark off every part of a HIPAA compliance checklist. That doesn’t mean you don’t have challenges, especially when new regulations come into play like the Interoperability Rule.
Solving Regulatory Concerns
The best approach to remain compliant is to have internal safeguards, audits, and training. However, you also have to make sure the vendors you work with follow the rules. Do your due diligence before you engage with a partner that will have access to patient data.
What Are Your Medical Data Management Challenges?
No matter the healthcare organization, you likely have challenges with managing medical data. Whatever those might be, our healthcare data experts are here to help. Get in touch today to see how we can be problem-solvers for you.