Data Stewardship: Harnessing the Power of Your Data

Everyday there are 2.5 quintillion (yes, that number has 18 zeroes in it!) bytes of data created. More than 90% of all the data that exists in the world was created in the last two years. And, the pace of data creation only continues to accelerate. As good Data Stewards, we must take ownership of the data we create to harness it to solve problems and make systems more efficient.

The sheer volume of data that we create and have access to is staggering. The possibilities for making use of that data seem endless and, when you’re just getting started, that can be overwhelming. In healthcare, making use of this data could lead to huge breakthroughs. That alone is cause to embrace information governance and data ownership. When properly cared for and intelligently applied, data empowers us to make great strides in areas like population health and predictive analytics. However, such progress is only possible once we have solid data stewardship practices.

Everyday there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created.

Population health relies on the analysis of data about health outcomes across vast populations. This type of analysis is becoming increasingly common to treat widespread chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. For the analysis to be done well, researchers require a lot of data about a lot of people and the more accessible and well-organized that data is, the more empowered they’ll be to positively impact the health of whole populations. Population health and data analytics also influence prevention and education efforts. The list of what can be done with the data is nearly endless, but before anyone can do anything with it, the data must be easily and seamlessly accessed by the people who need it, when they need it and how they need it.

Ensuring high-quality data is readily accessible is the goal. It’s why, when legacy system data combines with new system data, it’s critical to have good data stewardship practices in place. When data is spread over multiple, disparate systems, it’s significantly more difficult to gain insight from it. Providing users a seamless way to access legacy data while using the new system helps unleash the power of that data for access at the point of care.

Although it may be a little daunting at first, with some planning and foresight, instituting effective data stewardship practices maximizes the ability to use data, on both a micro and macro level. Combining disparate systems into a single framework, and then caring for the data, empowers clinicians and staff to make huge strides for healthcare – whether we’re talking about process improvements or curing a chronic illness. But, don’t worry. You don’t need to tackle population health initiatives right away. Start by creating information governance policies that help you properly care for your data. Empower better decision making and elevate the level of care you provide to that part of the population that comes through your doors.

Have any projects, experiences, or questions you’d like to share? Any ideas you may want to co-blog about? If so, let me know in the comments section or feel free to email me @ Dr.Kel@mediquant.com.

I’m Dr. Kel Pults, your Blog host. Stay on the lookout for our next blog post. Until then, like, share and/or comment on this post!