In Healthcare, It’s the Outcome that Matters Most to the Patient

Michelle Blackmer
Michelle Blackmer

Guest post Michelle Blackmer, director of marketing, Healthcare, Informatica.

The Affordable Care Act is commonly surrounded by words, such as “analytics,” “electronic medical record (EMR)” and “population health,” routinely trumping the word that matters the most, the center and driver of the law: the “patient.”

A recent EMR Patient Impact Survey compiled by Aeffect, Inc. & 88 Brand Partners, illustrates that patients are experiencing a personal benefit of EMR adoption:

However, beyond these early and obvious benefits offered by information technology – convenience and improved service – there are more meaningful benefits ahead. Insights will be revealed that will change healthcare in ways we can’t even imagine. The adoption of EMRs is generating useful, consumable and sharable electronic data. It is also creating a forum to inspire and collect patient-generated data, including health history, symptoms, biometric data, treatment history and lifestyle choices.

According to a new report from digital health consultancy DrBonnie360, there are now an estimated 50 petabytes of data in the healthcare realm, and this volume is rapidly increasing.  In fact, many Informatica healthcare customers have reported significant data volume growth. For example, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center recently communicated that its data storage (storage alone) is growing at 40 percent a year.

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How Fit Is Your Healthcare Data?

Michelle Blackmer

Guest post by Michelle Blackmer, director of marketing, healthcare, Informatica.

Several weeks into the New Year, our fitness resolutions are still top of mind. Whether tracking calories or steps, we are asking ourselves questions like “how many pounds have I lost?”, “how many calories did I eat?” and “how many steps did I take?” To take the guesswork out of it and to hold ourselves accountable, many of us put a Fitbit, Nike Fuel or Jawbone on our wish lists. Our physical fitness has become data-driven; these devices create data that provide insight, enable us to visualize patterns and generate millions of bytes of data, which helps account for the anticipated annual 40 percent growth in big data. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg for data-driven healthcare.

Health information leaders must continue to assess their business resolutions and take stock of their healthcare data fitness. This is especially important since an alarming 40 percent of healthcare executives gave their organizations a grade of “D” or “F” on their preparedness to manage the data deluge. What’s more is that none felt their organization deserved an “A.”

Successful transformation to value-driven care requires an investment in enterprise information management. However, healthcare organizations are tightening their belts and bracing for the hit to their bottom lines in response to the health reform law that took effect on January 1, 2014. Instead of scaling back, healthcare organizations must invest in the fitness of their data. After all, if the wrong data is analyzed (i.e., inaccurate, incomplete, missing or even unnecessary), organizations are going to make the wrong decisions. What is the cost of making the wrong decision?

Assess your data fitness. Ask yourself the following questions:

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Data Breaches of Protected Health Information Will Get More Frequent in 2014

Michelle Blackmer

Guest post by Michelle Blackmer, director of marketing, Healthcare, Informatica.

The volume of protected health information (PHI) in electronic form is exploding – both from the wholesale move from paper charts to electronic health records for capturing clinical data and with the proliferation of new sources of electronic data from networked medical devices. Additionally, IT staff have been overwhelmed by regulatory mandates, rampant technology changes (e.g., virtualization, BYOD, big data), massive application projects and flat or decreasing budgets.

This increase in electronic PHI combined with the challenges for health systems IT make it even more important for providers and non-providers to find efficient ways to secure their data. However, with malicious activity showing a consistent upward trend, absent a change to an almost maniacal leadership focus on protecting patient data and the deployment of available tools and processes as an organizational imperative, 2014 will bring even more frequent and larger breaches of PHI.

Current data security climate

Even still, many healthcare organizations are not taking the necessary steps to reduce the proliferation of unprotected PHI in non-production test and development environments. Ninety-four percent of respondents to the third annual Ponemon Institute Benchmark Survey on Patient Privacy and Data Security had at least one data breach in the past two years, and 45 percent reported having had more than five total incidents each. Even more surprising is that the leading cause for a breach is a lost or stolen computing device that houses PHI.  The survey also found that:

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