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Integrating data in healthcare is challenging but essential
By Sanjeev Shetty  |  Feb 16, 2023
Integrating data in healthcare is challenging but essential
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Sanjeev Shetty, president of SaaS firm DBsync, examines some of the challenges of data integration within healthcare, especially in the US, and how to address them. Such challenges are daunting, he notes, but must be overcome to cut costs and improve healthcare delivery in an increasingly digital and data-driven world.

WASHINGTON, DC - The medical industry relies heavily on data integration to improve established healthcare models. Data integration strategies in pharma are also leveraged across all levels of the value chain, from invention, to manufacturing, to commercialization. Only 56 percent of healthcare units are able to utilize all of their data streams effectively, however. This means nearly half the healthcare industry is missing out, which causes some USD342 billion in losses for healthcare organizations at all levels of care.

Data integration challenges in healthcare

The Economic Times has reported that now close to 400,000 health apps track heart rates, blood pressure, sleep patterns, calories consumed, physical activity, and blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Data collection and aggregation communities are equally fragmented, making the extraction and integration of data a real challenge. An abundance of data is collected by providers, payers, public health specialists, employers, social networking communities, and patients, but no effort is being made to unify all this information. A serious divergence and duplication of data with no single source of truth is likewise problematic. Inaccurate and incomplete healthcare member profiles are created, providing too little insight into patients’ wellbeing journeys and their ever-evolving relationships with their healthcare providers, payers, pharmacies, friends, and family.

Healthcare data silos

Approximately 97 percent of hospital-generated data sits unused, per the World Economic Forum This is a serious shortcoming, but also presents a huge opportunity, showing how data has the potential to modernize healthcare. The main reason is because hospitals have traditionally found management of large, heterogeneous datasets from a variety of sources difficult. Even something as simple

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