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Healthcare industry unprepared for data headed its way

Rachel Wheeler Archive
The healthcare industry is currently facing a number of challenges amid pressure to adopt health IT tools and update the way it stores data. Doctors are being offered incentive payments from the federal government to switch from paper-based documentation to electronic systems, and more than half (55 percent) have already taken the bait, according to a report that was recently released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

Electronic systems are ultimately expected to improve the quality of care physicians are able to provide through increased access to patient data. When a vast amount of client information is stored and structured in a meaningful way, doctors might be able to discover important healthcare correlations. Now that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been deemed constitutional, millions of patients' data may need to be added to these systems.

However, physicians might not be prepared for this quantity of information, Oracle recently revealed in a report titled "From Overload to Impact: An Industry Scorecard on Big Data Business Challenges."

Healthcare executives say they need better data quality

When asked to grade their organizations on preparedness for the incoming data, none of the healthcare executives surveyed by the hardware and software engineering company said they would give their firms an "A." In fact, more than three-quarters (77 percent) said they would currently earn a "C."

Healthcare executives also expressed concerns about the amount of money their organizations might be losing as the result of data quality issues.

"This study shows that up to 14 percent of a company's revenue is lost because enterprises are challenged to manage and analyze data, which grows exponentially as we speak," said Oracle president Mark Hurd.

Organizations can implement data quality tools before 'data deluge'

"Enterprises can get ahead of the game by using these challenges as catalysts for company-wide strategic change. Through industry-specific applications and technologies, enterprises can transform data into measurable business benefits," Hurd added.

Nearly all (97 percent) of the survey participants said that within the next few years, their organizations would need to improvedata optimization in order to turn it into actionable insight (43 percent). A smaller portion of respondents (38 percent) said they wanted to focus on training employees to better understand the data.