Needle in a haystack: The challenges of finding value in patient data

From incomplete pictures of a patient's health journey to trying to unify patient data, health system chief data officers, who oversee the collection of their systems patient data in order to transform it into a more meaningful resource, face challenges with making sense of the data they possess. 

Becker's spoke to three health system chief data officers who answered the question: What are some of the challenges of gathering insights from patient data?

Note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.

Rhiannon Harms. Chief Data and Analytics Officer of UnityPoint Health (Des Moines, Iowa). One of the challenges of all healthcare organizations is that our patient data is an incomplete picture of a person's health journey. Much of what keeps someone healthy happens outside the walls of our clinics, hospitals and home care agencies. Different data tools capture different information about a patient throughout their health and bringing all the data together for a more holistic view of a patient requires a very careful, considered approach — with protecting patient data and privacy as the top priority.

Don Gray. Chief Enterprise Data & Analytics Officer of Mercy (Chesterfield, Mo.). Challenges of gathering insights from patient data include unifying clinical, patient propensity, provider, social determinants of health and geo-spatial data to create unbiased and equitable real-time solutions that help both the individuals and the communities we serve.

Jon McManus. Vice President Chief Data and Software Development Officer of Sharp HealthCare (San Diego). Some challenges of gathering insights from patient data are system federation, workflows not being digital and creating inadequate digital trails for life cycle reporting and organizational data literacy.

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