As healthcare IT leaders know, there is no shortage of options when it comes to IT partners to help design and implement your technology roadmap. Deciding which partner is right for your hospital, health system, or practice can be an overwhelming task and depends significantly on what your challenges and goals are.
However, it is imperative that the partner you choose understands the role data plays in advancing care, reducing cost, and improving the patient experience. When solutions are designed to help you achieve this triple aim, you will have the opportunity to improve patient outcomes and your bottom line. Data integrity not only refers to the trustworthiness of data itself, but also to systems and processes used to capture, maintain, store, and access data. Here are some reasons why your IT partner must focus on protecting the integrity of your data:
Reduced Clinical Downtime
Unfortunately, all too often hospitals and practices experience the catastrophic impact to patient safety, revenue, customer service, and trust caused by downtime in today’s electronic healthcare setting. While downtime is occasionally unavoidable, a healthcare IT partner should be capable of reducing the frequency and length of time you are unable to access data by using proactive monitoring and maintenance as well as strategic design and implementation. Furthermore, your IT partner should help prepare for the occurrence of downtime with redundancy and disaster recovery plans, staff training, and policy oversight. An IT partner focusing on data integrity will understand the urgency and special circumstances within a healthcare setting and act accordingly to reduce clinical downtime.
Higher Staff Attention Levels
When technology tools don’t match up with what staff members need, it can negatively affect quality of care. For example, rather than spending time with patients, providers might be taking extra time trying to access patient data dealing with network slowdowns, lost data, inefficient information entry, and service desk requests. With meaningful and robust data management tools, they can more quickly and effectively care for patients.
When an IT partner is focused on data integrity, the partner absorbs a lot of the technical problem solving and helps put systems in place that run more smoothly and keep patient data at provider fingertips. With the right partner at your side, your team can focus more on patient needs and less on IT issues.
Improved Care Coordination & Clinical Integration
In medicine today, many patients have health and wellness needs that involve coordination between several medical professionals. Clinical integration represents this collaboration between doctors and hospitals to use proven protocols and measures, in order to improve patient care, decrease cost, and demonstrate value.Your IT partner should help design a robust healthcare data management solution that allows providers to smoothly access data and communicate together to effectively care for the patient, while still falling within HIPAA regulations and state requirements.
An IT partner that understands data integrity in healthcare can help design a system that will meet the needs of your patients. Not only will this provide a higher quality of care, but it also promotes patient engagement.
Enhanced Data Security
Healthcare has evolved into a highly technical and heavily regulated industry. While a locked cabinet for patient files was once enough to protect Personal Health Information (PHI), now patient data is stored electronically and able to be accessed via complicated and integrated technical systems. Through various access points, these systems have proven to be susceptible to outside attacks. In fact, in recent years healthcare has become a primary target of bad actors. When an organization faces a large security breach, not only is there a risk to reputation and patient trust, but also a risk of heavy government fines.
An IT partner who specializes in healthcare and focuses on data integrity will know and understand the unique circumstances of healthcare data security. That partner should conduct a vulnerability assessment, review your policies and procedures and help you put the right people, systems, and processes in place to protect your patient data.
With a focus on healthcare data integrity, an IT partner can help a hospital, health system, or private medical practice scale up its technology options and see major benefits along with way, including advancing patient care, reducing cost, and improving the patient experience.