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August 8, 2017

Collecting data in healthcare only first step towards value based care

Hospitals and health systems have embraced the value and concept of Big Data. More and more the are collecting huge amounts of patient and research data. However, most of the time, the focus is more on the collection part of big data than on the analytics part: how to gain valuable insights from all of these data sets.

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And just collecting is not enough, because data is not information, Gray Matter Analytics president and CEO Sheila Talton stated during an event last week at Chicago-based startup incubator MATTER. Medcity News was at the event as well.  “The real story is: How do you have data that’s accessible that can actually become information?” Medcity quotes Talton.

Looking back, not forward

Right now, mostly what is done with the data gathered, is reporting what has happened. In other words: looking backwards. Now, the health the industry needs to keep moving forward so that data can be used to get descriptive insights, predictive insights and prescriptive recommendations.

Both separate institutes and bigger healthcare systems are impeded from making more and better use of their data because so much of it is in data silo’s. Other problems are budget issues. The majority of health systems can hardly obtain the financial resources to maintain their existing tools, let alone implement new processes and programs.

IT suppliers often promise a one-size-fits-all model – making every tool and solution that a certain hospital utilizes work towards big data strategies. But, as Taltons stresses: Each hospital has a different patient population and budget, meaning it requires its own unique solution.

Working towards value based care

At the same time better data integration is needed so data from different silo’s and different organizations can be combined to gain the above mentioned insights. That in turn works towards achieving value-based care. Also, since the industry is moving toward shared risk models, figuring out how to use data is more important than ever.

Talton believes health system leaders need to ask: How do we manipulate and manage our data? How can we use it to make the lives of our clinicians easier? On top of asking these questions, everyone from payers to providers needs to be finding ways to share data with each other. Only by doing so can the healthcare field glean meaningful insights and information.

So, every health organization and system should have the same number one focus: Becoming a data-centric entity. To achieve this, there is also a need for a long term focus on goals: what do they want to become within the healthcare system, how can big data help achieve this and what solutions can support this.

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