EHR Viewer

Is Aggregating Healthcare Data Worth It?

October 27, 2021 / Christopher S. Garner

One of the greatest success factors for Big Tech has been its resourcefulness in handling enormous amounts of consumer data. Facebook squeezes every insight they can out of your interactions with the app; Amazon knows what you bought for Fourth of July last summer (and makes suggestions for similar purchases this summer); and, Google predicts the question you need answered before you even complete your sentence. None of this is possible without data, or without the executives who understand how valuable data can be in the advancement of an enterprise.

A question that still needs to be answered in the healthcare industry is this: why do executives in the health IT space consider data captured by their organizations any less valuable?

Why is Aggregating Healthcare Data Important?

Data aggregation is about more than just consolidating data. It’s about bringing data together for a purpose, such as to identify trends that produce actionable insights and help predict organizational success. More than that, data aggregation in healthcare is about being able to deliver more efficient plans of care and better outcomes more consistently – and, with more objective pricing. That’s why aggregating healthcare data is being recognized by both providers and payors as a cornerstone in the transition from volume to value-based care.

Regardless of which model of healthcare compensation is being used, aggregate data can remain valuable for healthcare organizations in both financial and clinical contexts. Connected with the right BI tools, it will help detect revenue cycle errors and abnormalities in care more quickly. But, before any of these benefits can be secured, your healthcare organization must first answer the question of how data will be consolidated in the first place.

How to Aggregate Healthcare Data

What would the process of aggregating data at your healthcare organization look like? We can imagine the process in two broad steps.

First, relevant data must be extracted out of transactional systems across your enterprise. It will need to be extracted, transformed, and loaded into a secure data repository, This creates a single, centralized data asset out of many. Although it is a technical process requiring specialized skill and knowledge, some organizations may have the in-house talent and resources to do the ETL themselves.

Once successfully migrated, the data will be configured such that interaction with it and manipulation of it is much easier. However, the data repository will not be able to facilitate those interactions by itself.

So, second: compatible analytic and viewing software must be connected to your new EDW (enterprise-wide data warehouse). The tools your organization chooses to connect will vary according to the business objectives that motivated it to aggregate data in the first place. Still, these tools will generally fall into one of two use-categories: statistical analysis or quick reference.

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Applications for Aggregate Healthcare Data

Without doubt, the most popular application for aggregate data – regardless of type – is statistical analysis. These are the BI tools that will mine powerful insights from the consolidated data to inform clinical decision-making and drive financial performance. Microsoft has a suite of BI tools designed to help businesses develop customized analytic models themselves. However, a healthcare organization must have the time and talent to capitalize on these softwares. Because of that, some choose to leverage ETL & EDW experts to help ensure they stay on the right track.

Generating the ability to quickly reference current and historical data is another function of applicable software. These solutions can be connected to improve clinical purview at the point of care – for example, by enabling physicians to quickly access legacy data or a more unified patient chart. Data viewing software are also used to provide external entities and individuals needing to view sensitive patient information quick, read-only access. These are the advantages of aggregate healthcare data when it is connected with the right tools.

Healthcare organizations collect more and more patient data everyday, and the value of that data can only be maximized if it is aggregated and plugged into applicable software. Maybe it’s time for executives in the healthcare industry to give data its due.

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