Part 1: Data is Fundamental

Everyday, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data (yes, that number has 17 zeros in it!). More than 90 percent 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 and harness it to solve healthcare’s challenges while making our systems more efficient. 

In this first part of a two-part series on information governance and data stewardship, we illustrate the roles data use and retention policies play in advancing healthcare.

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2,500,000,000,000,000,000 bytes of data created every day

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More than 90% of all the data that exists was created in the last two years

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Pace of data creation continues to accelerate

The sheer volume of data that we create and have access to is staggering. There is no end to the possibilities for making use of that data. And, when you’re just getting started with an information governance and data stewardship program, this can feel overwhelming – especially in healthcare. 

After all, we are (quite literally) dealing with life and death. 

But, we’re also talking about empowering innovation – new treatment protocols, solution designs and cures. Being responsible for the quality of the data that helps healthcare advance is daunting – but it’s also what motivates us to make sure we’re all working with good data. 

When properly cared for and intelligently applied, data empowers us to make great strides in areas like population health and predictive analytics. The foundation for it all rests squarely on the shoulders of those who craft and enforce solid data stewardship practices.

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 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 with a seamless way to access and work with 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 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 caring for the data within it empowers clinicians and staff to make huge strides for healthcare – whether we’re talking about process improvements or curing a chronic illness. Creating information governance policies that help you properly care for your data empowers better decision making and elevates the level of care you provide to the part of the population that comes through your doors.

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Learn more about Data Stewardship and find the right path for your data. Contact us!