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Healthcare reform depends on reliable data quality

Rachel Wheeler Archive
As more organizations come to rely on data to make fact-based decisions, they will also need to verify that data quality remains a top priority. This is particularly true for the healthcare industry, which is currently in the midst of reform which will generate unfathomable amounts of data.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reports that it currently stores 370 terabytes of Medicare data and 30 terabytes of Medicaid data, but those totals are set to explode in the coming years as doctors and hospitals enter patients' data into electronic health record systems. By 2015, CMS predicts data from Medicare claims will hit an estimated 700 terabytes and Medicaid claims will surge to 100 terabytes.

"Data is experiencing explosive growth in hospitals right now,"  Russ Richmond of McKinsey and Co. told Becker's Hospital Review. "But, data are fragmented, and they are not all that useful unless they are accurate and analyzed properly."

When data are properly organized and verified for accuracy, the improvement in results and efficiency can help hospital attract patients and improve reimbursement rates, the source adds.

On the other hand, improper data practices can have very serious consequences, considering that doctors will tap into this information to make life-and-death decisions on a regular basis, Dana Gardner, president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, reported in an Ecommerce Times podcast.