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Data Integration: Taming the Beast of Healthcare

Healthcare providers need to create useful, not to mention required, reports and they need to perform complicated analysis. To do that effectively requires bringing disparate information from multiple operating systems together. The goal… find opportunities to improve patient care and lower operating costs. To accomplish this, operational data has to be extracted and integrated.

Integrating clinical data at this level of detail requires a (wait for it) monstrous effort. To satisfy these complex reporting and analysis requirements requires finding the needed data in many operating systems then merge it all together in a usable way. Let’s see what it takes.

To load and maintain the efficacy of clinical information in a warehouse requires expert knowledge of source systems and a deep understanding of warehouse structure and design. Lack of expertise in these areas can adversely affect the quality, accuracy and usability of a data warehouse.

Many companies have faced this challenge. Some succeed while others fail but failure means money down the drain. Bad, missing or inaccurate data may impact important decisions and even threaten proper patient care. This is not the place to skimp on expert resources.

To start, buy or build a database(s) that will satisfy the necessary reporting and analytical requirements. It should be a clean, accurate well thought out standardized design with complete, normalized and dimensional Provider and Payer data patterns. It must be subject oriented, multi-tenant and a highly extensible data structure.

Now, design an intake process that can receive data from any Electronic Medical Record (EMR) or Electronic Health Record (HER) system or other ancillary systems. The intake design would have to be generic so it could absorb data from any system.

Then, design programs to transform and load the raw data into a staging area for validation and cleansing. Following the data model pattern, design programs to move the now clean data into a normalized integrated database.

Finally, design programs to move data through the normalized model structure to a highly functional, turn-key but customizable, dimensional (star schema) data base.

By aligning the design of intake, data load, transformation and data movement processes to the model pattern, you can use this tool set over and over again. Now that I think of it, this looks like something to build and sell!

No, this would take years to build, refine and package for sale.

But what if someone has packaged these components into a healthcare reporting and analytical data warehouse integration tool set. If they built it, it would decrease build time, complexity and provide the acceleration needed to get your warehouse on-line in less time (and less cost) than it would take to do it from scratch.

What if they had a group of experts in healthcare data integration? That would be cool. Made it a team that has experience and knowledge of the top tier operational healthcare systems. People with intimate knowledge of how the packaged integration tool set operates. They would have years of experience implementing this system in multiple locations around the country.

Now that I think of it, I might just know about something just like that and I think I know just where to look!

Tune in next time and I’ll tell you all about it!

Till then…

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