Today in an environment that often requires healthcare IT departments to be simultaneously budget-conscious, growth-minded, and patient-driven, they must also address the often-competing data management needs. Massive EHR adoption has multiplied the volume of data available to healthcare providers. Today, more than 96 percent of hospitals in the US use an EMR/EHR system. However, for EHRs to fulfill their purpose, there must be an effective EMR management system. When EHR data is well utilized, it can lead to improved care outcomes, lower operating costs, and improved productivity. 

  1. What is an EHR data management service and why is it so important?
  2. What are the 4 main strategies of effective EMR/EHR data management?
  3. What are the advantages of having a proper data management strategy in hospitals?

What is an EHR data management service and why is it so important?

Health data management (HDM) is the digital organization of health data. This could be anything from an Electronic Health Record (EHR), an Electronic Health Record (EMR) created as a result of a doctor’s visit, or a handwritten medical record. This is a compilation of patient data from multiple sources across providers and organizations. Healthcare providers can enter patient information into a single database for secure storage, analysis and sharing. Proper health data management can yield valuable insights to improve preventive medicine and improve patient care. At the same time, healthcare providers face the challenge of keeping medical information accurate, up-to-date and secure.

It builds a holistic view of patients that simplifies care and lowers costs. This holistic view allows providers to

  • Improve patient outcomes– The abundance of information being stored and the use of predictive modeling has changed the way medical professionals diagnose and treat patients.
  • Improve communications with patients– A synchronized data hub simplifies outbound communication and facilitates information sharing, helping caretakers  stay connected with patients and colleagues.
  • Take preventive measures- Predictive modeling can alert health care professionals to potential outcomes and allow for preventive measures to be taken.
  • Simplify diagnostics- Having access to the entirety of a patient’s medical history simplifies the diagnostic process for clinicians.
  • Make more informed decisions – Holistic views of patient information can provide a more complete patient profile and better track patient populations. The data supports decision-making by ensuring all information is provided.

What are the 4 main strategies of effective EMR/EHR data management?

1. Provide Data Security

EMRs contain protected health information which includes confidential data such as names, addresses, phone numbers, patients, medical history, diagnoses, medications, immunization dates, allergies, lab results, and doctor’s notes. The information stored in your EMR must be carefully guarded against unauthorized access and hacking. 

2. Data Protection-   Data Backup and Recovery Plan

Most EHR vendors have a backup feature incorporated into their products. However, we must ensure that it is reliable and easy to use when the need arises. A backup must also comply with HIPAA regulations on PHI security and other state regulations on health data. Incorporate the EMR data backup into a more extensive data security plan. 

3. Capacity Planning –  Use an Active Archive for Data Retention

After your organization has gone through a merger or acquisition you may be keeping one or more legacy EHRs. Maintaining data in different record systems is expensive. Retrieval of information will also involve a lot of manual processing. Instead of maintaining different EHRs, it is better to migrate the data from the legacy systems into a single active vendor-neutral archive. This is a more secure way of retaining old medical records. After that, data retrieval will take a few seconds instead of several days thus saving time and cost.

4. Scalability

The fastest-growing segment of healthcare data is unstructured data such as MRIs, CT scans, X-rays, and PET scans. As this data grows to Petabytes, healthcare organizations need a highly scalable, low-cost storage solution.

What are the advantages of having a proper data management strategy in hospitals?

  • Cost Saving – One of the most immediate advantages of improved medical data management in healthcare is to reduce operational costs. The better you manage data, the less likely that you are overpaying.
  • Compliance requirements – In-house hardware systems lack the reach or the compatibility of cloud-based systems. Cloud systems and newer technologies are more cost-effective.
  • Cloud computing-  allows medical offices and hospitals to offload the majority of their data into a centralized hub that can be more secure and less expensive. Having an automated cloud data platform also allows for the deletion of irrelevant data to keep more space free.
  • Reduced patient costs – More efficient data collection and instant data retrieval will help healthcare companies with the aforementioned prevention initiatives. When data can be applied more quickly and accurately, areas of improvement can be identified for patients rather than waiting for more serious conditions to occur.
  • Improved patient experience- Patients can also benefit from improved medical data management. Eliminate the need to fill out the same forms or undergo the same medical tests over and over again when all your data is easily accessible. Central storage also gives patients broad access to their health information. Increased transparency increases patient engagement and improves recording accuracy. Appropriate data collection, storage and management. Healthcare organizations must focus on these three things to benefit from all the data collected.
  • Consistency of data – better data means better treatment across facilities. Traditional data storage often becomes inadequate as patients move from one facility to another. Better data means better trend analysis. Individual patients can be assessed more accurately, but the benefits don’t stop there. Better data organization allows healthcare companies to identify areas with high cost-to-patient ratios.
  • Coordinated health care – The importance of healthcare data management lies in the ability to access and share patient records regardless of where medical services were provided. Accurate and relevant data securely transmitted between healthcare providers ensure prompt service and accurate treatment.