Difficult to Measure Part Iby admin on 01/10/2015 2:54 AM
5 Reasons Healthcare Data Is Unique and Difficult to Measure
Dan LeSueur, Vice President of Client and Technical Operations
Posted in Data: Quality, Management, Governance and Data Warehouse / EDW.
Editor’s Note: Below are both parts one and two of our series on the uniqueness of healthcare data.
Those of us who work with data tend to think in very structured, linear terms. We like B to follow A and C to follow B, not just some of the time, but all the time. Healthcare data isn’t that way. It’s both diverse and complex making linear analysis useless.
There are several characteristics of healthcare data that make it unique. Here are five, in particular:
1. Much of the data is in multiple places.
Healthcare data tends to reside in multiple places. From different source systems, like EMRs or HR software, to different departments, like radiology or pharmacy. The data comes from all over the organization. Aggregating this data into a single, central system, such as an enterprise data warehouse (EDW), makes this data accessible and actionable.
Healthcare data also occurs in different formats (e.g., text, numeric, paper, digital, pictures, videos, multimedia, etc.). Radiology uses images, old medical records exist in paper format, and today’s EMRs can hold hundreds of rows of textual and numerical data.
Sometimes the same data exists in different systems and in different formats. Such is the case with claims data versus clinical data. A patient’s broken arm looks like an image in the medical record, but appears as ICD-9 code 813.8 in the claims data.
And it looks like the future holds even more sources of data, like patient-generated tracking from devices like fitness monitors and blood pressure sensors.
To be continued in April . . .
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