Undoubtedly, big data analytics has the potential to revolutionize the healthcare industry but it also comes with its own unique challenges. The industry is still coping with collecting large amounts of data, converting them into electronic health records (EHR) and deducing meaningful insights from them. Integrating these data-driven insights into operational procedures can help healthcare organizations reap great many benefits. Advantages of big data analytics include higher patient and staff satisfaction rates, lower costs, healthier patients and many more. However, achieving this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Big data analytics is a complex process that requires collection, sorting, analyzing and presentation of data and all of this must be in compliance with the regulations. Let’s have a look at the top challenges which the healthcare organizations face while implementing an effective big data analytics program.
- Safety of Electronic Records
While digitization of data is important in this technology driven world, electronic records also form a lucrative target for hackers. Avoiding data breach is one of the major challenges faced by healthcare organizations. Research suggests that the healthcare industry loses about $6.2 billion per year due to data breaches. Organizations need secure digitization methods to avoid breaches. This calls for advancements in technology to improve the convenience of both healthcare providers and patients. Also, the data governance strategy needs to be strengthened so that the data collection, storage and sharing can be strictly monitored and safeguarded.
2. Good Data Collection Practices
Organizations need advanced techniques for better management and usage of data. There has to be effective data governance within the organization that could help in resolving issues related to big data and help in making better decisions on the basis of quality information. However, the first step for achieving all these is better data collection. Organizations need to ensure that the data they are collecting is updated, accurate, complete and in compliance with HIPAA. Use of a well-designed HIPAA-compliant web form solution can be helpful in streamlining the data collection process.
3. Trained IT Professionals
One of the major challenges that healthcare organizations face is lack of trained IT professionals to handle the big data. Data analytics requires advanced tools and technologies and IT executives handling them must be well versed with them. Survey suggests that incompetency can be seen even in highly progressive healthcare organizations.
4. Data Optimization
Data is collected from various departments like lab, emergency, radiology and others and all of them have their own healthcare procedures and ways of collecting data. Most of them rely on paper charts and fax for information sharing. This data is then converted into electronic health records, often without following the best practices. Creating a data warehouse by optimizing all the content is a huge challenge. Many healthcare organizations do posses the proper knowledge of how to work with data warehouses. To utilize big data and get useful insights from them, the organizations need to gain expertise in such techniques.
5. Changing the Mindset
As compared to other industries, the healthcare is still lagging behind in terms of entrepreneurial mindset. A large population of workforce in healthcare is working in the same organization for years. They have been following the same protocols for years and changing their mindset for better procedures is often a difficult task. This has led to a rigid culture in healthcare industry where new and innovative ideas find it difficult to fit in. Very few healthcare providers have successfully overcome this challenge but many are still finding it difficult to move beyond the existing protocols. Healthcare leaders need to encourage creativity and advancements in order to help change the mindset of the workforce.
Collecting and managing data in healthcare is a complex, time consuming and risky process. To take advantage of data analytics, healthcare industry needs to adopt a flexible mindset and collaborate with technology experts to optimize and learn various procedures. It’s important to consider the unique needs of healthcare industry and optimize procedures and minimize risks.