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Poor Data Quality, Limited Interoperability Hamper Financial Outcomes

Improving data quality via a smart data fabric may help boost interoperability for enhanced financial outcomes.

Poor data quality and limited interoperability can have devastating effects on healthcare organizations’ financial outcomes, according to new Sage Growth Partners research commissioned by InterSystems.

Healthcare organizations currently face significant data challenges, including a growing number of disparate data sources and siloed data repositories.

The whitepaper authors pointed out that health IT staff spend 43 percent of their work time on data extraction and harmonization. Cutting data coordination time in half could save healthcare organizations about $1.6 million in three years, they noted.

The research report suggested that implementing a “smart data fabric” can help unify information, which may ultimately improve the finances, management, and operations of a healthcare organization.

Implementation of a smart data fabric can help streamline data exchange through a wide range of data analytics capabilities, such as business intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning, the researchers explained.

Implementing a smart data fabric for enhanced interoperability could save healthcare organizations more than $42.1 million over three years.

The report also examined the cost of manual data input, duplicate and inaccurate testing, and errors during transition of care as some of the effects of poor data quality.

“The financial burden of bad data cannot be ignored,” said Stephanie Kovalick, chief strategy officer of Sage Growth Partners. “The annual cost of poor data quality in the US across all industries tracks upwards of $3.1 trillion. According to Gartner, this burden can be as much as $12.9 million for an organization due to data management challenges.”

“With the escalating cost of healthcare in the US, health systems must start to pay more attention here,” she added. “Investing in a smart data fabric is key to significantly reducing costs and saving clinicians valuable time spent otherwise on chasing and cleansing data to ensure the best possible outcomes.”

The researchers also considered the costs of shadow IT systems, such as hardware, software, or other programs not supported by a central IT department. They found that shadow IT systems take up 40 percent of the total IT capital budget. Reducing the use of these IT systems by half could save the typical healthcare organization a total of $10 million over three years.

“Every clinical and operational decision in healthcare is driven by data,” Alex MacLeod, director of healthcare commercial initiatives at InterSystems, noted in a public statement. “Implementing solutions such as a smart data fabric can improve the quality of the data, enhance interoperability, and dramatically increase cost savings for HCOs.”

“There is a pressing need for easy access to data from a single source of truth to put actionable insights back into the hands of administrators and clinicians and improve patient care,” MacLeod added.

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