Why is Data Collection Important in Healthcare

How can one be assured of providing high quality care systems for their every single patient in the clinic? What is the importance of data collection in healthcare? What are the most efficient methods and tools to generate the necessary information? These are the major questions we will discuss in the following article.


The healthcare industry is developing vastly and quickly. Today, it features modern technologies, tools, and equipment to collect as much information about patients as possible, with “big data” appearing as the new trend in the industry.


This has turned into the spine of the entire system. It provides numerous sources to pull out data that drives a higher level of insights, trends, and other vital issues that can be used to build an effective personalized treatment approach. Generated across a variety of sources, data collection in healthcare can also encourage efficient communication between doctors and patients, and increases the overall quality of patient care.


In spite of all the benefits of new technologies and informational sources, it is still rather hard to manage an efficient healthcare data management system, while also defining its true value. Moreover, another problem arises from here, which refers mainly to the digital protection of patients' personal information. We are, in fact, witnessing the foundation of a more complex healthcare landscape that still needs some improvements.


In order to understand the critical role of healthcare data collection, we need to have a closer look at problems that new trends are facing. At the same time, we should evaluate ever-growing data collection tools and methods.


On-Off Solution Problems When Collecting Data

Questions related to informational security and collaboration still call for an ultimate solution. Here, we have three significant obstacles that prevent us from generating data as effectively as possible.


1)    Poor Data Quality. Data actualization is the initial problem. One-off databases appear to be less efficient when it comes to generating actual data. This results from the fact that databases generally operate separately from source systems, causing problems when building high-quality data. Let's take MRN, for example. Most healthcare establishments use Spreadmart to generate necessary data; however, this process requires assurance that the obtained information matches the MRNs. On the other hand, there is always a chance for a mistype in any of the patient MRNs, when writing them down manually in the spreadsheet. Moreover, some MRNs may change from time to time in the source system. Such possibilities should also be taken into account.


2)    Complicated Collaboration. Imagine a healthcare establishment that uses EDW with the aim of reducing the amount of data silos. On the other hand, Excel spreadsheets are still the only way to collect and maintain self-created information, though this causes another data silo in the face of this method. As a result, the process for collaboration of the given data silo turns into a tough challenge. For example, we have two people in our institution who handle self-created data and record it in a spreadsheet. They have some free time at the end of the working day to enter that data. We send them spreadsheets asking employees to enter updated records, and both of them will make notes in their exclusive individual manner. In other words, the information will be provided in two different versions. Moreover, you will never be able to track multiple corrections and updates, and it is impossible to tell what information has been updated. Locking the documents and providing access to one and only person responsible may seem a good solution to this problem but, unfortunately, this method is not an end-all, as every person relies on a particular schedule and this may result in inappropriate use of working time.


3)    Data Security. Efficient data security has always been a huge concern when it comes to data collection in nursing and other healthcare fields. Organizations and companies are usually left with paying enormous fines. A single stolen laptop from one healthcare organization results in an almost $1.8 million, simply due to the information encrypted on the laptop. Healthcare providers seldom track digital security tools on the market, and they are hardly experts in installing necessary software, as well. As a rule, data collection tools in healthcare are mainly stored on laptops and PCs, which often leads to data security problems. Using cloud-based platforms for storing data may be a good solution to this problem, though it will require some customized education for staff members.


The Most Efficient Health Data Collection Methods

The healthcare industry has received a variety of different tools to generate necessary data. They make it easy to handle the following tasks:


  • Evaluate the project;

  • Attach interview protocols;

  • Include surveys and examinations;

  • Manage focus groups, and more.


The idea is to choose a set of tools that refer to specific activities performed by an organization. Those activities will help to define what data collection methods are the best options. Once there is a need to obtain primary data, you will need to choose methods that refer to your particular situation. The first thing you’ll need to do is to build an outline or plan containing answers to the following questions:


  1. What data do you need to collect?

  2. What tools do you need?

  3. Are there existing tools for your purposes?

  4. Are there any tool samples or templates available?

  5. Who is responsible for collecting information?


This will give you a clear understanding of what methods are best to implement. Now, let's have a closer look at some advanced data collection tools:


  • 360 Degree Patient Views - as the world keeps evolving digitally, the entire healthcare industry is swimming in tons of data. Simply obtaining access to that information is not enough. Organizations are supposed to implement integrated systems to receive a complete picture of the patient's trip. Institutions can benefit from already existing marketing solutions, like healthcare CRM, that provide reports, measurements, and analysis on various issues.

  • Personalized Patient Care - recent statistics reveal that 90% of all US-based hospitals and healthcare organizations are using EHR. About 60% of private healthcare providers have also adopted the system to benefit from even a deeper approach to patient insights.

  • Practical Use of Big Data Insights - generating necessary information is not enough. We need to use it wisely in favor of the patient, in order to bring care service to a new level. Patient data is rapidly turning into a strategic asset for all healthcare organizations, without exception, and they require it if they want a leg up on the competition.


In spite of the fact that big data can unlock more than $300 billion, there are some other reasons for providers to embrace data.


Informed Decisions for Improved Quality

Generated data may allow staff to make more informed decisions, eventually leading to  improved quality in the industry, overall. Organizations do still suffer from lack of more meaningful information in order to understand what their patients’ needs are.


Advanced technologies let professionals examine individuals remotely, providing them the care they deserve. In-depth research and analytics will make it easy to define the most efficient problems and sources that call for modification or improvement.


Bigger Picture With Aggregated Data

Some organizations still keep data separately, using several repositories. Instead, they should create a comprehensive source system to get full access to insights and gauge their performance on a macro level.


Higher Facility Performance

We should note that the healthcare industry involves not only providers and physicians, but also third parties in the face of insurance companies, registries, etc. Secured and meaningful data is a good opportunity for organizations to save money. All they need is to represent their healthcare facilities in a more accurate way using data collection tools and advanced methods.


Summing Up

The healthcare marketplace has grown into a rather competitive and complex industry, and requires effective data management. The key to efficient patient engagement and satisfaction hides in the data collected and enhanced by third parties, as well as the information that is analyzed across various sources. Not only will this increase the level of care, but also the recognition and visibility of a particular organization.


For this reason, improving data quality is vital. We have a team of experts who deal with healthcare data quality and deliver efficient solutions to both organizations and private providers. Our website is the right place to find answers, whether you need to modify an existing collection method or implement advanced tools from scratch. Contact our support team via email info@archer-soft.com for more information.