Breaking Down Healthcare’s Hidden Data Silos: Expert Tips

In healthcare, the data silos you don’t know exist can hurt you.

Earlier this month our team traveled to Nashville for ViVE, one of the nation’s largest healthcare tech conferences, and throughout the conference, there was a sense that data sharing is on the verge of acceleration. Micky Tripathi, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, told attendees the federal government will focus on making interoperability easier—and ensuring data reaches the right hands to improve health and health equity.

But our nation’s healthcare system still faces a major barrier to interoperability: the hidden data silos that keep providers from gaining insight into a patient’s whole health history. Without a clear idea of where these silos exist, unlocking value from data interoperability becomes that much harder. 

Overcoming Hidden Barriers to Data Sharing

Data silos prevent healthcare providers from connecting the dots for better care, especially when time is of the essence. They also put health systems at a competitive disadvantage. As new standards for data interoperability keep moving forward, health systems that struggle to share actionable data lose the ability to communicate with organizations on the leading edge.

Here are three data silos we believe deserve more focus:

Data Silo No. 1: Inability to access data across organizations. Even as the healthcare industry pushes for compliance with interoperability frameworks, we’re failing to recognize that the receiving end of interoperability may be in care settings that were not incentivized to adopt digital technology, like post-acute care. As a result, levels of data integration between hospitals and other organizations often vary based on the type of organization they are sharing data with, recent research shows.

Data Silo No. 2: Breakdowns in data access during transitions in care. Depending on where transitions of care originate, much of the data needed to support continuity in care could be trapped in paper documents or in faxes. Today, 70% of healthcare providers still exchange at least some degree of medical information via fax machines. When this data can’t be accessed quickly, post-acute facilities miss opportunities to better understand a patient’s needs, health status, and history.

Data Silo No. 3: Incompatibility between data systems. When healthcare data systems don’t communicate well with one another, the ability to create a longitudinal record of care is compromised, and continuity of care is disrupted. Yet each day, healthcare organizations face barriers to integrating data from third-party systems with their EHR—and the ONC hasn’t held EHR developers responsible for facilitating data integration. 

It’s Time to Tear Down Healthcare’s Hidden Data Silos

Recently, we created a whitepaper with expert tips for eliminating these data silos and overcoming top data and access challenges in health systems and other healthcare organizations. Access the whitepaper via the Becker’s Hospital Review site. 

Want more tips for overcoming healthcare’s hidden data silos or assessing their impact for your organization? Contact us.