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Healthcare and data management

Rachel Wheeler Archive
When information is stored across a number of separate databases, data quality problems can arise. This is especially the case in healthcare environments, where many departments are using their own technology to track patient histories and other details.

Writing for the Mastering Data Management blog, Milind Tamaskar notes that billing, pharmacies, admissions, electronic health records and other divisions have all developed their own "legacy systems" as the years have progressed. Each creates additional data when a patient interacts with them separately, and sometimes there is no way to merge it all into a complete file.

"Many healthcare IT systems do not present well-defined integration interfaces or connectors, as they were not built with analytics or data sharing in mind," he says, observing the lack of definitions for data measurements and the unstructured details. "Add strict regulations on data privacy and who can view patient and physician level data, and you begin to see the data challenge."

Collecting and validating data is a struggle for healthcare organizations all over the world. Earlier this year, it was reported that the U.K.'s National Health Service had experienced recordkeeping errors that resulted in almost 20,000 men being listed as receiving midwifery services.