For any organization that's charged with keeping track of a heavy volume of customer data, it's important that they have strong database management practices in place. This is perhaps most notable when it comes to data in healthcare - this is a field where people require attention that's fast and reliable, and they don't want their sensitive medical information slipping into the wrong hands. It's therefore clear that data quality is of the essence.
According to Health Data Management, it's important that healthcare organizations take steps to keep their data clean and reliable at all times. Bob Witkop, director of quality management at CTG Health Solutions, says that taking a moment to assess the situation every now and then can go a long way.
"Participating in this short self-assessment process will help organizations identify those areas that they need to focus on in order to develop a successful IT governance model," Witkop explained. "A model that is not only well defined on paper, but includes cross-organizational involvement, decision-making and collaboration in support of successfully meeting the emerging IT requirements in today's fee-for-value environment."
Specifically, here are a few questions that a health organization should ask about the strength of its data:
Is leadership united?
Ideally, you want to have a group of people at the top of the corporate hierarchy who work together to ensure data quality. This should include professionals with data expertise, customer service people who work directly with data and C-suite executives who understand the organization's long-term vision. Witkop recommends using a data "steering committee" who will iron out company-wide goals together.
Are you prioritizing correctly?
It's important to have a well-defined to-do list for cleansing healthcare data. Do you want to begin by cleaning out your existing database, or first perform a great migration to merge two existing clusters of data, then cleanse later? What about collecting new information through new customer service initiatives. If you have the aforementioned steering committee in place, it should be easy to hammer out a list of objectives.
Is data aligned with strategic goals?
Finally, you want to make sure your data is in line with your organization's overall goals. Whatever your company is setting out to do this year - it might be better customer service, more profits, what have you - the objective should be making sure that data helps. Data quality is only worthwhile if it's part of the bigger picture.