Healthcare providers face a number of problems besides treatment of patients. This includes data management problems, logistics, resource management problems among others. There are challenges in healthcare data management department that leads to other healthcare problems, and finding their solution could lead to improvement of service delivery in the health sector (Health Care Problems, nd.).
Data management problem is a leading cause of crisis in health conditions and costs. Comprehensive health management data controls treatment costs and keeps costs from escalating. This is the reason Copeland (2009) says the sector can not have meaningful actuarial oversight insurance agencies.
Copeland adds that the cause of poor health outcomes and expensive services is the inability of health professionals to collect and analysis comprehensive health data. This is because consumers have little information on cost risks of varied health conditions. Also, they do not know rates charged by different insurance companies (Copeland, 2009).
Information technology (IT) issues have made data management problem a challenge to the health sector due to the ever expanding amount of data, applications, data base that use data and regulations governing the sharing of data within the industry. The health sector suffers from distinctive data management setbacks.
Therefore, healthcare IT executives are required to develop and operate solutions that incorporate data from a wide range of patients, hospitals, and back office structure to doctors, payers, patients, technology and pharmaceutical corporations to solve these problems.
This is in accordance with Federal laws that oblige healthcare providers to develop systems and data that are interoperable, works for electronic healthy records and health information exchanges, and comply with ICD-10 and HIPAA 5010 (Data Management in The Healthcare Industry, 2012.).
However, in developing these mechanisms, numbers of setbacks befall healthcare providers. The first setback is that environments of healthcare providers are complex due to many interrelated components. Apart from budgetary differences, there are numerous autonomous healthcare departments.
Each department manages it own computer systems and data. In addition, these data are difficult to track because they abide by proprietary data formats. This problem is further complicated by hospital mergers, integrated care delivery services, and acquisitions. For example, a case where affiliations of a hospital have different accounting systems the data collection process is tricky (Khosrowpour, 2006).
The next data management problem according to Khosrowpour is difficulty in integrating information involving multiple vendors that store semantically dissimilar statistics. Though data cleansing and editing, transforming, and loading tools are unsophisticated to develop, healthcare providers who use them still meet challenges based on the enormity of the incorporation efforts required.
In addition, data entry mistakes made during patient admission affects the credibility of data collected. This also makes data management process complex since it is not reasonable to collect non-useful data.
Finally, there is the challenge that patient data and general ledger systems do not effectively handle financial contracts in the ever-changing heterogeneous payer mixes. This calls for the support of IT personnel. However, IT personnel are not willing to offer solutions to these issues. Instead, they focus in making massive profits in selling killer application, surgical simulation, and innovation, and trend setting software such as six sigma (Khosrowpour, 2006).
In spite of technological advancements, critical information still does not reach health providers, health providers, patients, and payer. The identified data management problems are the cause of communication breakdown. Solving them means bright prospects for the healthcare industry.
Copeland, B. (2009). Health Care Reform: A Data Management Problem. Cybersym Blogs Home. Retrieved October 10, 2012, from http://blogs.cybersym.com/science-society/51-solutions/110-health- care-reform-a-data-management-problem.html
Data Management in the Healthcare Industry. (2012). Database Tools and Developer Software | Embarcadero Technologies. Retrieved October 10, 2012, from http://www.embarcadero.com/solutions/data-management-in-the- healthcare-industry
Health Care Problems: Variation Across States, The States and Private Sector: Leading Health Care Reform. (n.d.). National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation. Retrieved October 10, 2012, from www.nihcm.org/
Khosrowpour, M. (2006). Emerging Trends and Challenges in Information Technology Management. Hershey, Penn.: Idea Group.