Flexibility from hospitals needed for data use to reach its potential

Information silos in healthcare settings are a primary reason why available data often isn't used to its fullest potential, concludes Russ Richmond, M.D., CEO of McKinsey Healthcare's Objective Health consulting firm, in a new post that appears on The Health Care Blog.

Such a failure to "connect the dots" Richmond says, can be detrimental to boosting the quality of patient care.

In contrast to datasets used by health payers, hospital data is much more fragmented and complex, Richmond says. That, in effect, limits the number of entrepreneurs willing to tackle data flow issues, leading to what Richmond calls a "stifling of innovation."

Richmond is not alone in his assessment. An article published last month in the Wall Street Journal points out that while healthcare is "the next frontier" for big data, its acquisition historically has been a "problematic" one.

While Ben Rooney, the article's author, doesn't focus as much on the struggles of hospitals to use such exorbitant amounts of data, he points out another problem. "[Data] is wrapped in layers of regulations and stringent safeguards and is expensive to collect," he writes.

To remedy such issues, Richmond says that hospitals need to be flexible in their decision-making processes. "We are still seeing hospitals continue to over-emphasize the collecting of information rather than carefully analyzing those data to create insights that truly matter," he writes.

To learn more:
- read Richmond's post
- here's the Wall Street Journal article

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