When it comes to patient and operational data, hospitals and healthcare organizations have two major goals that they need to maintain sight of:
1) To successfully and cost-effectively capture, manage, and store their clinical and administrative data to improve both the quality of care that they provide to patients, as well as the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations.
2) To make their data more accessible and shareable to authorized personnel across different departments and geographic locations, and to other healthcare organizations as needed.
But for most healthcare organizations, accomplishing these goals has been and continues to be a challenge, due in part to the explosive growth in healthcare data over the past several years, and the increasing complexity of their IT operations. And the volume of healthcare data is only going to increase.
Making the Transition to EHR
Today, hospitals and healthcare organizations everywhere are in the process of moving from manually capturing and storing their healthcare records to digitally capturing, storing, and maintaining them via Electronic Health Records (EHRs). As part of this effort, many practices are retroactively scanning historical paper patient records to include with the EHRs, and also adding other files that pertain to a patient such as high-resolution digital medical images, medical tests and lab results, telehealth data, and more.
The hope is that by taking actions such as these, hospitals and healthcare organizations will be able to improve the quality of their patient care, diagnostics, and outcomes, as well as reduce their overall costs and improve their day-to-day operations.
The Growing Challenge of Data Storage
Once upon a time, healthcare IT pros could simply back up their organization’s data each night (or, more frequently, if necessary) and purchase additional disk storage as needed. However, that approach is no longer feasible as data storage requirements in the healthcare sector are currently doubling roughly every 18 months, which is placing a tremendous strain on organizations’ data storage capacities and IT budgets.
More importantly, the more healthcare data an organization needs to capture and store, the more difficult it becomes for it to not only backup, manage, protect and secure its data, but also ensure that it complies with an ever-increasing slate of government mandates and regulations. This is especially critical in the wake of the passage of the Healthcare Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), a component of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
HITECH increases the amount of privacy and security protections available under the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It also opens healthcare organization up to additional potential legal liability and imposes mandatory penalties for “willful neglect” for non-compliance.
Thus, to succeed, hospitals and healthcare organizations must set up a more progressive, flexible, and efficient data management infrastructure, as well as automate their data workflows to better support both their organization’s short- and long-term data management needs.
Fortunately, there are a lot of industry experts available who can assist hospitals and other healthcare organizations in doing just that. And given the rapid pace of data growth in the healthcare sector, there’s no better time than the present to start.
Learn what it takes to master the complicated process of implementing the Cerner EHR platform into your organization by downloading our Ebook.