Health system chief data officers' most pressing issues

From overseeing investments in new data and analytics tools to making sense of data to improve patient care, chief data officers tackle these challenges as they lead their health systems to becoming a data-driven organization. 

Becker's spoke to three health system chief data officers who answered the question: What are the most pressing issues for health system and hospital chief data officers today?

Note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.

Rhiannon Harms. Chief Data and Analytics Officer of UnityPoint Health (Des Moines, Iowa). One of the most pressing issues for all health systems is ensuring the investments made in new data and analytics tools will help find gaps in care or other opportunities to improve the health of the patients and communities we serve. 

Another issue facing hospital chief data officers today involves protecting data and patient information from increased cybersecurity attacks. At UnityPoint Health, we’ve added additional layers of internal security tools to help keep sensitive patient data secure, such as multifactor authentication for our online patient portal and email monitoring tools that have already blocked thousands of threats to our system.

Don Gray. Chief Enterprise Data & Analytics Officer of Mercy (Chesterfield, Mo.). Most pressing issues for health systems and hospital chief data officers today revolve around codifying, analyzing and synthesizing the vast data sets (both internal and external) to improve care paths, population health management, and, of course, the quality of life for the patients entrusted to our care.

Jon McManus. Vice President Chief Data and Software Development Officer of Sharp HealthCare (San Diego). Developing a data literate culture within Health System operations, unifying analytic products (custom or self service) to appear launchable and accessible from one place agnostic to tool or author, and instilling the skill of effective data storytelling to support a data driven culture. 

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