Healthcare providers are dealing with an explosion in healthcare data. In fact, one survey found that the healthcare sector is generating data faster than the media and entertainment and financial services industries. That leads to two questions:
- How to manage that data?
- How to leverage that data?
Healthcare IT companies and providers can look to other industries in the private sector that have faced (and answered) those same questions. Let’s explore how you too can harness your data and generate insights from electronic health records (EHR) to improve patient outcomes and make operational improvements.
What Is Data Mapping in Healthcare (and How it’s Used)
Interoperability, defined by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, is when two or more systems exchange usable information for a specific purpose. Data mapping matches data points between the two systems. Typically it involves a source and a target that require the same information but use different terminology to label that information.
Think of data mapping in healthcare as a link between source and target for a specific purpose involving:
- Patient care
- Administrative records
- Interface contexts
In the healthcare industry, data mapping is often used to share data collected from two data sources such as EMR or EHR. The combined information from the mapping project can be used to perform analytics from data sets, forecasting, drug trials, case studies, and more.
Companies will take the information from the EMR and match it to the information in a clinical trial management system to be used for:
- Drug trials
- Data models
- FDA reporting for drug approval
Why You Need Data Mapping in Healthcare
Many healthcare providers struggle to seamlessly integrate systems or leverage data due to the lack of EHR interoperability. This is why data mapping in healthcare is so important. Data mapping enables more valuable use of the data.
Universal interoperability in healthcare would require setting standards for data quality, data integration, comparability, and a standard of terminology across the medical field.
In 2006 the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) suggested a list of standards for better interoperability quality:
The list goes on, but these standards touch only a fraction of the information contained within an EMR.
Challenges to Data Mapping in Healthcare
As times change, data changes too. For example, an ethnicity category could grow or shrink depending on how we classify patients according to the government census. Or, facilities with two independent departments may decide it’s more cost-efficient to combine the departments into one.
These examples require datasets to be changed not only within the source but also at the target. Even something as minor as how data is arranged in different columns can require a re-mapping exercise. For instance, patient allergy information is classified as “Miscellaneous” under the source EHR system but “Allergies” under another can mean a vital aspect of patient history being missed. This is where mapping software plays a huge role in the long-term viability of interoperability in the healthcare industry.
Given the fact that there is not a set standard for data across the medical field and the fact that the data set constantly changes, data mapping is often a complex process.
Example of Data Mapping in Healthcare
Get Started on Your Healthcare Data Mapping Journey
Collecting EHR data, establishing data structures, and data warehouses can seem intimidating, especially given the sensitive nature of healthcare data. However, you can make your transition to a data-driven practice easier with an experienced partner like True North.
Our healthcare IT consultants assist in navigating common data mapping hurdles, including:
- Creating a scalable system for healthcare data
- Closing data gaps between source and target
- Navigating different standards across medical fields
- Updating out of date terminology between source and target
- Generating real-time insights
Find out how our data mapping tools can help you discover efficiencies, improve patient outcomes, and improve the bottom line.
Not Sure Where You Need to Get Started?
Talk to experienced healthcare IT professionals to understand what systems you need, how you can use them, and how they’ll benefit your practice.