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Integrating Data Silos: 7 Key Benefits for Healthcare

In our article, Healthcare Data Silos: From Medical Tragedy to Opportunity of Accelerating Returns, we discussed the challenges and tremendous opportunities for integrating data silos. In healthcare, too many silos result in health systems that operate on assumptions – not a good thing for patient safety and when billions of dollars are in play. 

We discussed in our article how data silo coordination is key to managing big data and using it for many of the strategic areas healthcare organizations are currently pursuing:

  • Evolving accountable care initiatives and organizations.
  • Creating more coordinated care among providers, health systems and patients.
  • Managing population health initiatives.
  • Implementing and succeeding in new healthcare payments models.
  • Communicating with and marketing to patients as well as providing them with access to their health data for active engagement and healthcare decision-making.

In this article, we’d like to follow up on the topic of data silos and provide some practical thoughts about integration that lead to meaningful big data usage.

  • Next Generation Technologies: Shifting a healthcare system’s IT infrastructure is no easy task. Yet, implementation of next generation technologies in cloud of the ecommerce platform, remote tele-monitoring and wearables – among others – are designed to distribute data securely and with greater agility.

  • Clinical Data Warehouse: The first-generation of clinical data warehouses pretty much crashed and burned, but not before spawning the extract/transform/load (ETL) industry. Today’s data warehouses for healthcare are more sophisticated and able to deliver the analytics healthcare executives need. According to leading clinical data warehouse provider Health Catalyst, a data warehouse solutions should deliver analytics that combine clinical, financial, quality, cost and patient experience data.
  • Governance, Policies & Standards: In addition to the right technologies and tools, a healthcare system must have governance in place as well as policies and standards to ensure usable data sets are available to solve problems, answer questions and uncover opportunities.
  • Business Strategy: Oftentimes the integration of new data is an afterthought. Making data integration part of business strategy with activities such as mergers and acquisitions, expansions into new markets and IT and other infrastructure and capital investments, provides a better chance that data integration will occur on the frontend rather than the backend of such key activities.
  • Big Data & Healthcare Providers: Healthcare executives need access to integrated data for business strategy and decision making, but healthcare providers need it as well. The ability to break down data silos to inform clinical care, workflows and the art of practicing medicine will be essential in achieving quality goals within healthcare.
  • Advancing Medicine: Advancements in medicine require new data in areas such as genomics. Emerging data sources like genomics – which often end up on their own silos – will require integration with other forms of data to recognize their full potential.
  • Asset Management: Managing a hospital’s assets in no easy task. Breaking down data silos can help healthcare organizations consolidate assets. With reliable data, predictive maintenance and capital equipment replacement forecasting (CERF) can help a system save significant dollars.


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