You Say You Want a Data Revolution

by Julie Dooling

When “Data Revolution” was suggested for the title of this monthly column, I instantly thought of The Beatles (some of my favorite musicians) and their song “Revolution.”

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world

We want to change the world of healthcare for the better. We are constantly addressing challenges in creating, processing, using, sharing, storing, and disposing of data within the ever evolving health information lifecycle. We want an environment where we know we are collecting accurate and complete data. The data must be “meaningful” to affect future changes in how we approach and provide healthcare to our patients and their families. The structure of data and information governance will address who owns and manages the data in our organizations so that change is seen as a good thing.

John Lennon’s words really stand out to me when I think about the current landscape of the healthcare data realm:

You say you want a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We’re doing what we can

There is certainly no lack of effort in the US healthcare industry. Many professionals have stepped up to work on solving our interoperability and data analytics challenges. We have been focused on transforming our technology, which includes implementation of business intelligence and data analytics solutions to enable prediction of patterns and increasing efficiencies. This momentum continues, but a strong “people and process” focus must be coupled with the technology. People, process, and technology must work together.

Innovation needs to be forefront in our minds. The sage words sung by The Beatles are on point in this regard as well:

You tell me it’s the institution
Well, you know
You better free your mind instead

Collecting the same data day after day just because it has always been a part of the workflow is not innovation. Evaluating new or alternative data collection sources and databases should be an ongoing task in any healthcare organization.

There’s going to be a lot of work ahead, but with that work comes many rewards and benefits to both healthcare organizations and the patients in their care. And when we all work together, don’t you know, it’s going to be alright.

Julie A. Dooling, RHIA, CHDA is a Director with the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). With many years of healthcare experience, Dooling has served in various roles including transcription service owner, HIM manager for a large integrated delivery network, and senior sales support for leading document management vendors in the US and Canada. Dooling serves as an instructor for the Certified Health Data Analyst exam preparation workshops and has authored many articles, briefs and toolkits related to data in today’s healthcare.

Original source:
Dooling, Julie A. "You Say You Want a Data Revolution" (Journal of AHIMA website), March 18, 2015.