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Unleashing the Power of Dark Data to Improve Patient Outcomes

by Heidi Bullman

For healthcare organizations, dark data is data that’s collected in regular processes – from research to surveys and even administrative and clinical data – but ends up stored out of sight in functional applications. While this data is useable and can be incredibly valuable to healthcare organizations and providers, it’s inaccessibility has deterred healthcare IT executives from retrieving it and in turn, left it lost in departmental applications.

“Think of [dark data] like all of the pictures you’ve ever taken on your phone,” explained Tom Taulli for Forbes. “Most of them will never be used or even viewed again, but they are there. So as for dark data, it’s all the information companies collect, don’t use, have no plans to use, but will never throw out.”

And Although the concept of dark data isn’t a new one, healthcare IT operations leaders are motivated now more than ever to use dark data to unleash critical insights that will improve patient outcomes.

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However, therein lies the problem: healthcare organizations have valuable information in their departmental application but it’s not immediately accessible or connected to their data warehouses. Once this is understood, healthcare IT operations leaders and executives must work to move this data out of apps and into their data warehouse without creating performance limitations or requiring lots of developer resources to make it happen.

“As an IT operations leader, you want to look at the history – or into the future – to predict, “how do we best serve patients based on the hidden data we’re discovering within our organization? Those analytics tools, those BI tools, aren’t in [your PaaS] or any of the SaaS apps, they’re in the data warehouse,” Explained industry expert, Andrew Pritchard.

From there Pritchard explained that, when analyzing this data, there’s a push for continuous intelligence. This means that rather than relying on updates, where the data is moved from a SaaS app to a data warehouse, leaders in healthcare IT want instant and seamless access to create and run reports wherever and whenever. The challenges with this is that it leads organizations to believe they can tackle their own integration and with the immense data growth and overflow of reporting growth, performance will undoubtedly decline.

On tackling the need for instant access and seamless integration, “Perspectium DataSync, provides an as-a-service approach to moving data and automating the management and creation of the data store and the management of data flowing between your application and your data repository,” said Pritchard.

With healthcare organizations looking for ways to harness all this data that’s been locked away, seamless integration, that handles continuous data growth while eliminating performance decline, is possible. Using platforms rooted in a service approach can move data and keep it flowing for easy accessibility.

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