Health Data Management Quality is an Ever-Moving Target
Valuable data within the realm of the healthcare industry is vital for providing great care. Managing that data and making sure that what is being stored is accurate is just as important, especially when lives depend upon it quite often. Providing quality health data management is the foundation of a good organization and support for all the professionals that help a patient all along the way.
People, or patients, don’t always understand the importance of the initial information that they are presenting to their physician. Something like a missing zip code may not cause too much of a problem, but missing medical history, not including all prescriptions being taken, and other underlying issues can be detrimental when trying to diagnose a problem, prescribing further medications or ensuring that the best care possible is being given.
Sometimes it isn’t the patient that leaves out or writes down incorrect information, but the medical staff that enters data into the system erroneously. Simple mistakes can cause a myriad of problems and lead to a number of inaccuracies for the patient and on other report standards within an organization. Ensuring exactness to medical records, documentation, and any other information within the healthcare system will provide the best opportunities to offer specific care, avoid confusion and avoid wasting time, effort and energies on everyone’s behalf.
When talking about data and the storage, access, protection, and application of it, healthcare is an industry that hasn’t implemented many of the software technology available to improve care and take care of inefficiencies within the system. Maybe it was because the old way of doing things, such as only keeping hard copies of patient’s medical records, seemed to work fine, and the thought of putting all that information into a database or data warehouse was going to cost time, effort and require a new way of doing business. A mandate from the government changed this mentality, and for the better: now, all organizations, no matter how big or small they are, must keep digital copies of health records to ensure that information can be shared much more quickly and to just about anywhere around the world.
Health data management quality falls mostly on the heads of the professionals that provide the health services. Verifying that the person is who they say they are, entering the information into the system correctly, double checking with the necessary person or people if there are questions about information and that any added documentation is added to the right patient’s chart. This can seem somewhat self-explanatory, but you have to understand that identity theft plays a big part in the healthcare industry, and many people try to deceive clinics and hospitals in order to receive care without having to pay for it.
Another aspect of concern with health data management quality is protecting the data that is being stored. As has been shared every so often on the news, a hospital or healthcare organization has their information hacked into, and all patient information is held for ransom, and/or sold on the black market. Protection of information, especially with details that are very extensive and vital to a person’s identity, is being put at the top of this list for healthcare organizations currently.
Managing data also has its benefits for the organization in that it helps to reveal what is going on within, where changes need to be made, where losses are happening, more accurate costs of running the organization and helping to improve the overall care that is being provided. If the data isn’t accurate, it would be impossible to make definitive and reachable goals for the organization, impossible to eliminate inefficiencies, and could result in penalties or fines being handed down from the government.
“Health systems need to understand where their information is stored and likewise need to comprehend the relationship of one information system to another. The ability to understand the profile of systems is critical when addressing compliance, litigation readiness, and retention/disposition needs. Information mapping also enables health systems to make timely decisions regarding policy development, data migration, and systems decommissioning. Iron Mountain
A healthcare data solution isn’t just a place where information is stored and can produce a few reports as needed. The demands of a healthcare organization go much further, much deeper and provide essential insight from all the data gathered. If you think about all of what goes into a single patient’s health record, it isn’t just a file of doctor visits and prescriptions, but will include:
- Doctor’s notes – which might voice recordings, scanned or typed notes
- Images – especially x-rays, MRIs, CAT scans, etc.
- Test results – from bloodwork to allergy tests
- Medications and doses
- Treatment plans and visits
- Financial and insurance information
We all know that healthcare data isn’t going to get simpler as time goes on, especially with any new advents of technology, and the fact that medical records must be digitized for access and sharing abilities. Managing this quality and ensuring that accuracy and protection are priorities is not a simple job, and requires that everyone within the system is working toward the same standards. Internal policies must be adhered to, as well as checks and balances to safeguard these principles. It may seem like a lot of effort being placed on something so straightforward as data, but so many things on all that information being collected and the fact that everyone relies upon it so heavily. There is a lot of thought and planning, as well as understanding that you can’t set up the health data management system and expect it to stand the test of time; new regulations come down from the government, new goals are established within an organization and new threats are always being detected when protecting data and data systems. Being ever vigilant, flexible and ready for the new demands that will be asked is part of the ongoing part of health data management quality.