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The Clinical Data Warehouse
With the amount of data that is created each day, having all of a company’s information on just one computer is not only inefficient, but also impossible. Any of the Fortune 500 businesses out there have conglomerated data stored in vast data warehouses. These warehouses are specially designed for different types of industries in order to perform needed tasks with greater effectiveness. But one industry was lagging behind and was forced to utilize data warehouses qualified for much different purposes. This industry was the healthcare industry. And the sheer volume of data that is created in the different doctors’ offices, hospitals and other health professionals’ care requires special attention to detail.
The first generation of clinical data warehouses had a lot of promise, yet weren’t able to live up to the agility that the warehouses for other industries provided. The demand for a sweeping overhaul was made and in today’s market there are solutions that provide the customized adaptability and flexibility specific to the needs within healthcare.
Healthcare Analytics Depend on Data Warehouses
Clinical data warehouses are structured to be more exact to the plethora of incoming and outgoing information. Unlike most business industries, healthcare has a wide variety of information that is related to each patient such as the typical information of name, address and phone number, but also health insurance plan, coverage, billing, medical history, family history, medical data from office visits and so much more. What also may not be realized by many in the public is that medical professionals also have reporting that has to be regularly supplied to government and other organizations.
In these reports, information about individuals isn’t as important as a information on a population as a whole. To extract these details, the clinical data warehouses need to be efficient and accurate. This doesn’t just magically happen, but necessitates a warehouse that performs a transfer of the right data, in the right format and at the right time. To top this all off, security and protection to all those records and facts must be of the highest degree.
Healthcare Data Demands are Unique
It isn’t hard to see how a data warehouse designed for another industry may fall short to the needs demanded of the healthcare profession. Subsequent generations of clinical data warehouses have provided the more robust expediencies with facets that are unique to the medical fields that employ them. Just as expected, the technology within the data warehouses is growing each year, and helps to provide better and faster results.
Along with improvements in data warehousing, there has been an ever increasing amount of statistical data that needs to be collected, organized, and re-distributed. These higher expectations come from external sources as well as from all internal departments at a healthcare-oriented business. One challenge is that the information that each group provides is not formatted the same, or located in the same areas within the warehouse.
The primary assurance common in all the demands for the stored data is that everyone is on the same page, because the information isn’t located at just one computer or separated into severely restricted data silos. All the documentation that has been gathered is more connected, verified and consistent because of the availability of the clinical data warehouse to more health professionals and financial authorities. This avoids duplication, common clerical errors or just gaps in information that may otherwise occur.
What Does That Mean?
All these features in and of themselves are quite beneficial for all those individual entities connected to their own data. However, the ability for doctors that aren’t located in the same building, city or even state to access a patient’s file and to be able to treat the individual as if a relationship had existed for years is groundbreaking. And clinical data warehouses aren’t just for storing individual medical information, but also for supplying details on potential outbreaks within a community, with prior results from other treated patients with similar symptoms and outside sourced reports that can add to the fundamental knowledge the healthcare provider may be working with.
The unique responsibility that the healthcare industry is mantled with may seem daunting. As the healthcare industry took it’s first steps into the realm of data warehousing, the technology was intuitive, but basic. In a relatively short time, clinical data warehousing has become an essential part of what makes a healthcare provider thrive.
Breakthroughs in data management technology have made it possible for doctors, insurers, pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and more to better serve the needs of the individual patient, by collecting, organizing and sharing data with a speed and efficiency that has never before been possible.