Healthcare organizations across the globe produce tons of data related to their patients and clients. Doctors utilize this data to make major medical decisions and prepare treatment plans. That’s why it’s vital to conduct these data collection strategies carefully.
There is always a possibility of breaches, as hospitals suffer around 30% of the significant data leaks. So, by improving security measures and conducting best practices for data collection, the firms can avoid problems. It will also prevent them from suffering financial losses.
These practices include data backups, data encryption, and custom data forms. The following article discusses the best strategies for data collection in healthcare.
Why is Healthcare Data Collection Essential?
Medical illnesses are getting complicated, and patient demands are increasing. So, doctors and healthcare practitioners need to improve their service strategies.
Collecting patient information or data collection in healthcare allows doctors to understand more about their patients and their needs. After analyzing patient data, they can develop enhanced patient treatment plans that improve patient care.
Data collection in healthcare is also essential for detecting health complications. Doctors might analyze patient symptom information to predict major and common diseases. It enables them to modify their treatment plans and adopt better practices.
For instance, a group of patients suffers a particular set of symptoms different from another group. Medical experts can treat both these groups separately to tackle health complications minutely. All this will be possible through patient data collection.
So, data collection in healthcare enables doctors to gain valuable insights about their patients. It helps them save money and resources to build treatment strategies in the long run. That’s why Temple Grandin stated,
“Computerized medical records will enable a statistical analysis to determine which treatments are most effective.”
Top Data Collection Practices to Benefit Healthcare Firms!
As medical institutions depend on data to improve patient services, they need to modernize data collection. It means following data privacy regulations, securing records, and involving the patient in data collection.
Let’s look at the most effective data collection strategies in detail.
Digitizing Data Collection
Documenting medical information in offline files and folders might not be the best option. Hospitals may lose or misplace these files and papers while treating patients.
In addition, if the patient changes a location, such as a ward to the ICU, their documents move with them. If the hospital updates patient data, maintaining them on paper is difficult. That’s why digitization is so important today.
Implementing cloud-based healthcare data solutions will be the best option if you’re a medical officer. You can store data security on these platforms and make it accessible to all professionals across the department. Moreover, data verification will also be simpler.
Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and Electronic Patient Record (EPR) are the emerging technologies that can make your healthcare-data collection and management convenient. This way doctors can collect and store information quickly which will lead to improved and fast treatment.
Discuss Data Collection Strategies with Patient
An excellent practice of data collection in healthcare is being completely transparent with your patients. You need to talk to them about gathering their information and tell them why it’s essential.
You can organize a session with the patient to discuss the importance of patient data. Give them a brief idea of how you will use the data for treatment purpose. In addition, you can assure them that their data will stay protected and won’t be shared without their consent.
Medical officers can participate in this conversation and mention the data storage strategies. Furthermore, you can discuss how your data collection practices are HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant.
This process will take time, and you must carefully answer all the questions a patient asks. Moreover, provide simple phones to your patients to enter data correctly and conveniently.
Safeguard Patient Information
Maintaining security is extremely important for data collection in healthcare. Hackers are always on the prowl for stealing sensitive patient information so you need to always safeguard any data you collect.
Start by securing all the devices that you use in data collection. These can be desktops, laptops, or tablets within the medical facility. Ensure that all these devices are password protected.
You can also follow these data security pointers.
- You must instruct all professionals to never leave their devices unprotected
- Tell them to log off from their systems when it’s not getting used
- Update the firewall and antivirus softwares on the systems frequently
- Ask your staffs to never share the passwords and credentials of data storage systems with anyone
- Conduct primary data collection, security training, and launch programs to spread awareness about cyber security and data breaches.
It is expected that the Healthcare industry will spend more than $125 billion on cyber security within the next five years. Being safe with your data will prevent such staggering expenses for your medical institution.
Maintain Data Backups
Along with securing and collecting data wisely, you need to create backups. These backups will be vital if your medical devices get compromised by malicious hackers.
Today, most hospitals use connected devices for data collection and are part of a secure network. However, hackers try to break into these networks and grab sensitive information. Ransomware attacks are very common in the healthcare industry.
That’s why it’s essential to make regular backups of sensitive data in an isolated location. So, even if the primary server is hacked, you’ll still have access to vital information to continue all medical operations.
You can store the data in a separate cloud storage account isolated from the primary server. Moreover, you can utilize external hard disks, flash drives, and similar storage mediums.
Tip: Try backing up data twice a week for maximum security.
Data collection in healthcare must provide better services to your patient. That’s why you need to be diligent in collecting vital information like contacts, medical history, and insurance details of the patients.
You can send online forms to patients that they can quickly fill up. Always explain to your staff and patients the impact of data collection practices. It will help both the parties to understand the process and participate properly.