Unleashing Healthcare Data from Silos
October 24, 2019
One of the biggest issues in healthcare research is the inability of researchers to obtain meaningful healthcare related data easily. Information silos of healthcare data exist across both private and public sectors with almost no cross-team access. Its almost like multiple players trying to solve a puzzle with each player having one piece. Anyone who loves puzzles can see how difficult it can be if you can only see your own puzzle piece and none of the others. Believe me, it is frustrating!
What is a data silo and why is it bad?
Data silos is data that is aggregated from a few isolated data sources and accessible by one or a few related organizations. This can result in lack of transparency, efficiency and the kinds of applications that the data can be used for. This is true for any kind of data but is especially true for data in health care sector. Management of healthcare data in addition to having usual challenges of hard-to-obtain IT skills, limited budgets and managerial overload also must carry the burden of additional privacy regulations and legal frameworks such as HIPAA and others.
What are some steps you can do to bust out of data silos?
The first and most powerful tool in your arsenal is to educate and increase awareness of your administrators and management about the benefits of collaborations that come into play once data silos are busted.
The second most important step is to choose the right technology stack or family of products that enables this. It is important to note that if you choose the wrong tool, even if your team is motivated to live in a data silo-less world it will not be easy. So, choose your tool carefully, very carefully.
While making the necessary changes will not be simple or speedy, enhancing seamless data access is an objective that will help the healthcare industry meet the majority of its quality, safety, and efficiency goals cutting across multiple dimensions of care and research. So, keep chugging!
Pro Tip: Look for tools that can work along side your existing tools and avoid the whole dreaded "rip-and-replace" path.