Data management in healthcare involves gathering and compiling patient information from multiple data sources across various medical providers and organizations. Being able to effectively manage healthcare data serves many stakeholders, including doctors, patients, insurance providers, and others employed throughout the healthcare industry.
However, unlike other industries, such as retail and hospitality, the healthcare sector is not as streamlined and customer friendly when it comes to organizing, managing, and transferring customer data. Patients often have higher expectations than what many healthcare providers are currently able to offer.
According to a recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, only 12% of Americans believe that healthcare in the United States is handled extremely or very well. This polling suggests there is much room for improvement in healthcare processes, and better data management is one area where strides can be made to enhance the patient experience.
Without the proper compilation of healthcare data, providers may find it difficult to access and decipher patient information in order to provide appropriate treatments. To improve these systems, healthcare providers should be looking for ways to engage with and serve patients outside of traditional, in-person consultations.
Today, technology offers many ways of upgrading those processes through digitization, which creates a more efficient method of organizing and transferring patient data. Read on to learn more about how platforms like Formstack work to help healthcare providers put no-code solutions into practice to improve patient experiences and data management capabilities.
What is healthcare data management?
Healthcare data management is the process of storing, protecting, and analyzing healthcare data pulled from different sources. Methods of collecting and recording healthcare data date back as far as medical care has existed. For centuries, medical practitioners have recorded findings in journals, updated patient charts, and documented their processes.
According to the Encyclopedia of Public Health, “Health data management comprises all activities relating to managing health data as a valuable resource.”
These activities include those that involve both healthcare providers (physicians, hospitals, and pharmacies) and healthcare payers (health insurance companies and the patients themselves).
The healthcare data management process includes retrieving, processing, updating, and efficiently organizing data, while reviewing for errors and redundancies, and then storing the data in a secure environment.
What exactly is included under the umbrella term of health data? In general, health data consists of:
- Patient demographics
- History of medical conditions and diagnoses
- Medical notes
- Laboratory test results
- Procedures and surgeries
- Imaging reports, such as X-ray, CT, and MRI
- Provider information
- Additional communications
What are the benefits of healthcare data management?
Improving efficiency in healthcare data management delivers numerous benefits to stakeholders, from saving time and money on outdated, paper-based processes to making patient information more secure and easily transferable. Healthcare organizations that invest in strong data management systems can expect the following benefits:
Get a comprehensive view of patients and their care.
Maintaining a dedicated healthcare data management system ensures that your healthcare organization develops a holistic view of patients and their care. By having all of the pertinent information available in one place, you can better understand who the patient is and what the patient needs. This 360-degree view allows you to deliver targeted interactions by integrating data from all data access points.
Eliminate paperwork and double data entry.
When you use a workflow automation system like Formstack, you take back control of your organization’s time and energy. Say goodbye to endless stacks of paperwork and hello to an organized digital data library. No more misplaced documents, and no more wasted time organizing files that can now be updated with the touch of a button. On the consumer side, patients benefit by spending less time filling out unnecessary paperwork, since all of their previous information is assembled within one profile.
Make data-driven business decisions.
Having a central location where all relevant data is organized, updated, and stored helps administrators make more informed, data-backed business decisions. These decisions can help optimize medical practitioners’ time, leading to increased referrals and the ability to serve a greater volume of patients.
Empower physicians and patients.
Providing physicians with the pertinent patient information benefits healthcare providers by empowering them to make better decisions based on data. This, in turn, benefits patients by helping physicians to be more proactive and efficient when it comes to diagnoses, treatments, and patient care coordination.
Furthermore, by providing patients with easier access to their health records and medical forms, they can feel more secure in their treatment plans, patient care experiences, and the secure storage of important documents.
Become more aligned with organizational goals.
When it comes to managing healthcare data, two of the primary organizational goals of healthcare providers include using data to produce better patient care and outcomes, as well as improving the productivity of all team members. Proper healthcare data management helps better understand employee activity—from physicians to administrators to support staff—to ensure they align with those organizational goals.
Create seamless information exchanges across providers.
Few things are more frustrating for patients than having to navigate multiple offices, insurance companies, and accounts just to be seen by a provider. Having a dedicated healthcare data management system helps patients avoid jumping through hoops by providing a seamless exchange of information between all parties. This benefits all stakeholders involved and helps patients who need care focus their attention where it is really needed: on getting better.
Hear how Willis-Knighton Health System uses Formstack as their healthcare data management system.
One specific area where healthcare data management can be particularly effective is with sharing imaging and test results. According to HHM Global, “more than 90% of patient-generated data comes from medical imaging.” But because these images are spread across different department systems, they are often difficult to share. Platforms like Formstack help to accomplish this by storing patient records and images in one secure location, enabling department interoperability and seamless data and imaging exchange.
Better protect sensitive data.
One of the top benefits of healthcare data management is that it keeps sensitive data safe and secure. Over the past few years, many healthcare organizations have experienced data breaches, which appropriate data management systems can help prevent.
In 2017, AdventHealth experienced a security breach, which threatened patient data. To address the concerns from the breach, the organization turned to Formstack, whose HIPAA-friendly form solutions, email notifications, and confirmations helped get the company back on track. Now, AdventHealth’s patients and staff can trust that sensitive data is kept secure and consistently monitored for risks.
Healthcare Data Management FAQs
How can I unify my data management approach?
Start unifying your approach by getting rid of paper processes. Many healthcare organizations are still using paper to collect patient data. However, this weighs down the whole process and can lead to errors or missing data. Instead, use simple, integrated tools (all-in-one solutions) that can handle multiple processes and be used across an entire organization. This helps to eliminate data silos and streamline data management.
What are the challenges of healthcare data management?
Some challenges include ensuring data security and compliance, integrating data from varied sources and structures, and interoperability between stakeholders.
What are the best practices for healthcare data management?
A few of the best practices for healthcare data management include using automated workflows to streamline processes, storing data in a central and secure location to enable interoperability, and using the data you collect to help drive better business decisions.
How can healthcare data improve physician alignment?
By gaining a better sense of patient history and needs, healthcare providers can optimize physician schedules. Physicians are then empowered to focus on being proactive in diagnosing patient ailments, optimizing treatments, and avoiding readmissions.
How can healthcare data improve the patient experience?
Healthcare data management can help improve the patient experience in several ways. A few of the benefits patients can expect include saving the patient time and energy before each appointment by eliminating unnecessary paperwork — , establishing a streamlined profile accessible by various providers and departments, and keeping sensitive patient data secure.
The Bottom Line on Managing Healthcare Data
Healthcare data management provides a beneficial way for healthcare organizations to save time and money on outdated, redundant processes, while delivering improved care to patients in need. From protecting sensitive patient information across many different data sources to improving the patient experience, there is no downside to updating your processes to one streamlined system.
To learn more about how Formstack can help your organization meet its data management needs, request a demo. If you want to see Formstack's powerful workflow automation tools in action, start your free 14-day trial now.