I’ll start off by saying I’m kind of a music junkie – rock, rap, blues, I love it all and I tend to associate songs to the majority of personal events and even more so to my professional life. I’ve been working in healthcare for longer than I choose to admit, jumping straight from college to the clinical setting, which I aptly characterize as “the land of confusion”.
This was well before the days of ARRA, HITECH and MU, when mega vendor CEOs were humming along to “When I Rule the World” and physician’s characterized health IT as deciphering the tiny text on their pagers. Each week I dropped off a slip of paper with a list of names of mile long to request patient records for upcoming visits. If I didn’t receive one, or had an emergency appointment pop up, I head into the records room, turn a crank on the biggest filing system I had ever seen, and gather a patients’ record. I’d call up to other departments to request reports, labs or other pertinent info – and typically reference 3 or 4 MRNs per call in order to “complete” the record. I’d sort through the file, put the paperwork in chronologic order and add it to the nurses’ pile for review. I was 22. This was our healthcare system.
Fast forward to today…”it’s a whole new world” right?
While terms like interoperability, population health and accountable care can make for a fun Friday night game of buzzword bingo with my fellow HIT pals – I can’t help but think back to my first job in this industry and whether we are overlooking the most basic need inside a healthcare organization – Access to complete, accurate and real-time information – on patients, providers or any type of data that’s now being collected. Data quality is essential to advancing our healthcare system – not only can it be life-saving at the point of care, but it also serves as the cornerstone to both the clinical and business strategy.
So why, as an industry, is data quality not our #1 priority? Sure, there’s a lot of noise – MU, ICD-10, security breaches, you name it – but it’s like we’re all still singing along to “I’ve got 99 problems but [data quality] ain’t one.” It’s time to take a step back and really look at the state of all this data. Sure, there’s more here than ever before – and it comes into your organization in varying formats, at varying speeds and at a relentless pace; however, something’s going to give. Dirty data will undermine all other activities and investments, including your multi-billion dollar EHR implementation.
For healthcare, next generation technology is about accuracy, exactness and precision. What better way to advance initiatives like population health and precision medicine than with a technology that provides a single, holistic view of your data? Master Data Management (MDM) technology underpins the architecture of the future for healthcare – providing clinical, administrative, IT and business leaders with a single source of truth to their data that has previously been unattainable.
As I reflect back and think of the ups and downs I’ve seen in the industry, the best way I can sum up where there industry is headed is this… “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”