'Hope not a strategy' for influx of health data from ACA ruling

In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling that federal subsidies are legal under the Affordable Care Act, millions more Americans may soon start enrolling in health insurance, and that means massive amounts of new data flowing into the system.

That information will include electronic health records create for new patients, increased medical claims submissions and call logs generated by new subscribers, Peter Ku, senior director for Global Industry Marketing at Informatica, writes at Computerworld.

All of this data means that providers, payers and others in the industry will have to be prepared to "access, govern and protect it to ensure success," he writes.

However, that may be easier said than done because of under-investment in data management infrastructure and software, he adds. The current state of these processes are "a ticking time bomb" and it will be up to CEOs, COOs and CMOs to address this, he says.

Three areas they will need to focus on, Ku says, include:

  1. Data integration: The process for extracting and loading data coming in from exchange enrollment systems, EHRs and legacy systems must be automated and streamlined, Ku writes.
  2. Data quality: Errors in data caused by the human hand, corruption in the systems or incorrect formations must be identified and repaired.
  3. Data security solutions: These will include steps such as data masking to protect private health information used in test data to support innovation.

"Hope is not a strategy," Ku says, and the hope that tools already at the disposal of chief information officers, chief medical officers and others can handle the data is not something they should rely on. 

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