People visit doctors and other healthcare professionals many times a year. While healthy individual goes to doctors once a year, those suffering from debilitating diseases might see multiple specialists multiple times a day. This reality coupled with the world population hovering around 7.7 billion people leads to a wide range of healthcare records created each year.

Now, the wealth of healthcare data waiting to be analyzed and used is huge. In every visit, doctors and other professionals use the patient’s historical records to provide a definite line of treatment. Also, new opportunities to garner healthcare data continue to grow. Patients are greatly relying on medical devices and wearables and choose Telehealth services to seek quality care.

Healthcare needs to analyze and use this data in order to recognize impactful preventative strategies, eradicate inadequate care, and expose fraud. And in doing so, it needs the support of healthcare data integration platforms.

Data Integration in Healthcare

Obviously, data can come from multiple data sources and presents an enormous challenge for many healthcare providers. Consider an example for a better understanding.

An individual visits three clinics or healthcare units to seek opinions on a medical problem. All of these units have a specific EMR system that stores data garnered at every visit. When the individual makes his last visit, the patient uses a prescription at the drugstore - presenting a fourth data point. Any health data, such as heart rate records garnered from wearable devices will ultimately create new data points residing in separate databases.

It’s difficult for healthcare providers to connect data points from multiple databases is complex and time-consuming. It’s clear that integrating the data would be beneficial - even in this simple example. Here the role of data integration comes into play.

Data integration platforms consolidate data from multiple data sources into a unified database. In the process, data undergo a cleansing and transformation process to facilitate precise analysis. With the help of data integration, different data sources are used to deliver business intelligence.

After understanding the importance of healthcare data integration platforms, it’s essential that we explore the challenges involved and ways to resolve them.

Challenges Involved

Healthcare organizations need to integrate data to function, but there are several obstacles that come along the way. Here are they:

1. EHR Interoperability Problems: In order to integrate, new technology pulls structured data into a data lake. When data needs to be compiled and integrated, healthcare units need to abide by standards set by HIPPA compliance. Now, many healthcare companies leverage healthcare data integration solutions. This is one of the primary reasons why data is disparate and diverse. However, while doing so, healthcare organizations have to face interoperability issues. These problems can give rise to data silos.

2. Poor Healthcare Data Privacy: Privacy and compliance are crucial primary concerns in healthcare. Sharing and exchange of data can trigger security breaches and allow unauthorized personnel to access data.

3. Lack of Consistency of Data: Data needs to be consistent while implementing an integrated healthcare ecosystem. However, many times, healthcare organizations may differ when choosing user applications. As a consequence, data becomes inconsistent, which affects the quality of data and the integrated care delivery model.

4. Lack of Skilled Staff: Undoubtedly, every healthcare professional, including doctors and patients utilizes data. Data can be leveraged to make an accurate diagnosis, improve medical devices, and evaluate patient behaviour as well as pharmaceutical success.

Although healthcare data is extremely useful, it becomes easier to misinterpret raw data without guidance from data analysts and data scientists. In addition, chances are high that data can get misused if it lands in the wrong hands. Owing to these risks, mostly it’s the responsibility of IT to manage healthcare database access and integration. Consequently, it becomes impossible for IT to focus on other more high-value tasks.

Resolve Challenges Using Self-Service Data Integration

Healthcare units can leverage self-service data integration solutions to overcome challenges and deliver the best care possible. These solutions hand over power to non-technical business users to consolidate data while freeing IT to focus on more high-value tasks. Users can leverage features, such as shared templates, AI-data mapping, dashboards, etc., to integrate data (of diverse sizes and formats), managing interoperability and inconsistency-related issues. What’s more, self-service data integration also offers an end-to-end encrypted environment to enable data access to authorized personnel only.

Overall, self-service data integration enables healthcare units to overcome potential challenges and deliver the best-quality patient care.

Author's Bio: 

Chandra Shekhar is a product marketing enthusiast who likes to talk about business integration and how enterprises can gain a competitive edge by better customer data exchange. He has 8 years of experience in product marketing for SaaS companies.