by Deanna Nole
This article was originally published on IBM's "Mastering Data Management" blog on May 11th, 2012
Driven by competition and regulations, healthcare leaders are under tremendous pressure to control operational cost, improve service delivery quality and provide a more coordinated and personalized healthcare system.
To bring transformational change in their business, healthcare leaders need reliable and accessible information to prioritize and allocate funding, resources and technology to remain competitive and ensure compliance with regulatory quality measurements.
It is a daunting task to glean the right information from a complex IT environment littered with information silos. Healthcare providers cannot calculate the true cost of care if they cannot correlate data that describes the resources and cost of care provided with patient outcomes and post-discharge patient satisfaction. If healthcare leaders don’t pay enough attention, the silos will multiply and make IT more complex with every changing business need, competition and regulatory requirement.
So, how can we build healthcare data infrastructure that meets the future needs?
Well, it's impossible to design for all future needs out of the gate. Flexibility and adaptability are the keys to a sustainable data infrastructure and remaining innovative and agile to meet your analytics needs. You need to enable resources with tools that allow you to spend more time leveraging insights from the data, rather than spending time managing the data.
To really enable your organization with the right data infrastructure, consider these factors:
- Align business and technical resources with a common target and vocabulary to accelerate progress on your initiatives
- Increase agility and decrease time to deliver new reports to your decision makers with a design optimized for analytics
- Enable department heads with the tools they need to be innovative and collaborative
- Adapt to evolving regulatory requirements to maximize reimbursements and compliance
- Expand analytical dashboards and reports to include emerging clinical areas without re-implementing an entire platform
"All-in-one" data warehouse solutions and Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) may deliver the capabilities needed to support near term, tactical objectives for regulatory compliance reporting for CMS and other government agencies. But they may not support the innovation and collaboration for a healthcare organization to transform care delivery, remain competitive, and optimize quality of care. Packaged business intelligence solutions may not support existing technology design investments, and may require compliance with an application-specific and rigid data model.
Achieving rapid and successful analytical value requires the proper balance of a comprehensive data schema design across clinical, financial, and operational data elements paired with the ability to support existing models and technologies. Only a flexible model structure developed specifically for the healthcare industry can support this goal.