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The Ultimate Guide to Healthcare Data 2020
Learn everything about Healthcare Data. Understand data sources, popular use cases, and data quality.
Table of Contents
- What is Healthcare Data?
- What is Healthcare Data Used For?
- What Are Typical Healthcare Data Attributes?
- How Healthcare Data Is Typically Collected?
- How to Assess the Quality of Healthcare Data?
- How Healthcare Data Is Typically Priced?
- What Are The Common Challenges When Buying Healthcare Data?
- What to Ask Healthcare Data Providers?
What is Healthcare Data?
Healthcare data refers to all the information that is gathered during patient care. When you go to a doctor, a lot of information about your health is collected, processed, stored, analyzed and disseminated.
This data offers insights and supports decision-making in key areas such as medical costs, patient behavior and pharmaceuticals, allowing companies to advance treatment methods, enhance health outcomes, and lower overall costs.
Healthcare data is not only crucial to solving local organizational issues, like reducing workloads and increasing profits of an agency, but it also helps solve global problems, such as forecasting epidemics and combating existing diseases more efficiently.
That said, healthcare data is growing at a rapid rate, and witnessing about a 48% increase annually. It was expected to amount to 2,314 exabytes by 2020.
What is Healthcare Data Used For?
Healthcare data is useful for healthcare startups, established corporations, and pharmaceutical companies for numerous reasons. It’s a powerful tool that offers them insights and helps them identify the needs within a customer or physician segment, and target geographical areas. Companies are able to make decisions with confidence, determine the right investments, and refine marketing strategies.
Clinics and hospitals are able to improve patient care, insurance providers can use it to reduce fraudulent activity, rectify false claims, provide better services to their customers and reconcile records faster.
Manufacturers also benefit from it by creating better, innovative products to solve health issues, and pharmaceuticals are able to do better research and development, resulting in more effective drugs, shorter production times, and lower costs.
Healthcare data can be analyzed for the following use cases:
Developing new drugs and health-related products is a long process that requires a lot of time and money. Collecting healthcare data is a key element that allows businesses to develop innovative products for a fraction of time and cost.
Through data analysis, teams are able to find useful information much faster and more efficiently, thus reducing the time needed for product development and market placement. This process removes guesswork, and creates products that are more precise.
Doctors and other medical professionals can more efficiently and accurately identify diagnoses and treatments. Rare conditions that would otherwise seem incurable are more likely to be traded, since research can progress at a much faster pace.
Collecting and analyzing data allows healthcare organizations and pharmaceutical companies in a myriad of ways. From improving employee output, to designing a more efficient workflow, to redirecting resources to where they are most needed – healthcare data could assist in all these directions.
Innovation is crucial for advancements in medicine. Healthcare data speeds up the rate at which new drugs are discovered, thus improving the quality and reducing the overall cost of healthcare.
What Are Typical Healthcare Data Attributes?
Healthcare data allows organizations to enhance health outcomes. Companies can track health records that include vital signs like heart rate, as well as diagnostic- related information, like laboratory test results from blood tests.
Through collecting and interpreting data, companies are able to analyze profiles and demographics, and identify and target prospective members. They can assess hospital claims and prescriptions fulfilment data to create targeted campaigns for specific health conditions. Companies can also leverage pricing data against quality metrics to identify the highest value, lowest cost providers for certain procedures and services.
Ultimately, the efficient use of data helps businesses understand what is going on in the healthcare industry, identify problems, and find innovative solutions that will help reduce costs.
The healthcare data attributes also depend on the type of healthcare data:
Claims data includes patient demographics, dates of services, diagnosis codes, cost of services, and the like. This information helps the provider understand the basic condition of the patient, what concerns are they facing, and how much will it cost to treat them.
Patient-generated health data
Also known as PGHD, patient-generated health data can be collected in various forms, like satisfaction surveys, patient-reported outcomes, and the data collected through wearable fitness trackers and IoT devices.
Social and community determinants of health
Socioeconomic data could be a vital indicator of the health of a community. Social and community attributes like the average income, food choices, transportation access, education levels, and the like could reveal tons of information about the patients.
Also called electronic health record data, EHR data contains crucial information about the process of care, feedback of the patients regarding the provider and so on.
How Healthcare Data Is Typically Collected?
Healthcare data is primarily collected from many different sources. It generally involves a diverse set of public and private data collection systems, including health surveys, administrative enrolment, billing records, medical records, used by various entities, such as hospitals, CHCs, physicians, and health plans.
Nowadays, the information is mostly gathered with the help of digital channels and numerous applications available in the market.
The most popular tools for gathering medical information include:
- CRM - integrated customer relationship management systems for generating and handling general information, providing reports and analyzing various issues.
- EHR - electronic health record systems for accumulating and analyzing personal patient information and generating deeper insights.
- Mobile applications - software that runs on portable devices to connect clinicians and patients, aggregate and access information in various databases.
How to Assess the Quality of Healthcare Data?
When healthcare data is correctly collected and interpreted, it becomes a powerful tool that helps companies make informed decisions, cut costs and create more efficient products. A lack of access to valuable data inputs in today’s world means that in order for healthcare data to be useful, companies must be able to filter through a lot of information efficiently.
For that reason, it becomes quite challenging for organizations to pinpoint exactly where opportunities exist. So when choosing appropriate solutions for data collection, you should take into account many aspects, such as services provided, the number of doctors and patients supported, existing tools and infrastructure, and budget.
How Healthcare Data Is Typically Priced?
Healthcare data is often available as subscription packages, however, the process usually depends on each provider. They offer access to hundreds of different databases that target each company’s exact customers by specialty, job role, location, ownership, and many other selects. Given the lack of standardization in the market, custom quotes are a common form of pricing as well.
What Are The Common Challenges When Buying Healthcare Data?
Companies need to evaluate their goals when buying Healthcare data, since there are a few obstacles when getting the right kind. Despite the overwhelming amount of data in healthcare, it’s very challenging to capture the relevant data cohesively.
Finding data that is precise and offers actual value is quite difficult, and considering how sensitive patient records are, properly storing them becomes critical for data security. Data stewardship is a very important aspect to consider, as there must be proper knowledge about where it was obtained, when, by who and the associated conditions.
One study conducted at an ophthalmology clinic revealed that EHR data matched patient-reported data only in 23.5% of records. Various patients reported having three or more eye health-related symptoms, but their HER data didn’t sync at all.
Updated information is also crucial, considering how patient care is constant, so information about each visit should be available.
Although generating and acquiring healthcare data is relatively easy, what is tough is to store it properly. As the healthcare data is growing exponentially, a lot of organizations and companies find it tough to store the data properly.
What to Ask Healthcare Data Providers?
- Do they offer adequate security measures to ensure that customers’ data is safely stored?
- Do they ensure the level of accuracy and compliance required to propel healthcare businesses forward?
- Do they guarantee continual execution of automatic and manual processes that reflect the latest profile updates and regulatory changes?
- Do they enable you to access sales, prescription, and claims data for deeper provider insights?
- Can their dataset be integrated into your current business technologies and how does that process look like?