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The Relevance of a Digitised Data Supply Chain in Healthcare

It is a known concept that a sound judgment or proper decision-making can mostly happen with a precise set of relevant as well as supporting information or the very crucial data. It might be a genetic algorithm that we say as GA, the very popular tech intervention in today’s relevance – the AI or artificial intelligence, or any other tech domain or terminology, data always remains infinitely critical for optimal utilisation. A robust data supply chain is a testament of the durable value chain of information.

Healthcare is one sector that generates a colossal amount of data. Be it patient management, supervision, administration, clinical testing, claims management, or any other processes – financial or otherwise, data is ever rising in this sector.

Research says that across the world, healthcare data will grow 25000 petabytes by the year 2020. This data is mostly captured in hard copies formats and often fed into the systems. Be it patient admissions, health assessments, declarations, evaluation reports or other procedures, everything is done manually, and therefore we cannot exclude the chances of typographical errors or data duplication, which are inescapable and often unavoidable human mistakes. But even though these errors are humane, they raise bigger issues that are often related to the governance of data, honesty, integrity, and a sense of ownership. A study has shown that nearly 56% of the providers offering healthcare services don’t have systematic data governance.

Many times, data related to healthcare can lie scattered in dissimilar and disparate systems. Making these crucial data available to the right people, be it physicians, administrative staff, members of patients’ family, continues to be a challenging task even today. Therefore, there is an urgent need to connect the unconnected, especially in the healthcare systems. Given below are a few ways we can make that possible.

Collecting Data Digitally: If the collection of data happens through applications that are web-based, then chances of errors in health records go down drastically. Smart devices like tablets or smartphones help to capture the data in a secure way and can send that directly to a central repository, so that it can become available for usage in the future.

Smart Cards: These help to bring down recurring data entry for the patients and can finally lead to a relevant Hospital Information System (HIS).

Cloud-based Applications: Cloud is certainly a cost-effective resolution to critical problems facilitating storage of data, ease in management, recovery in case of a disaster, the flexibility of operations, and finally scalability. Therefore, providers offering healthcare service are swiftly migrating to relevant cloud-based services and applications. But all good things come with a word of caution. Storing data in clouds can be advantageous with appropriate security measures only.

Data Security Procedures: For protecting data, healthcare service providers often must underpin security measures by deploying antivirus solutions, arranging for firewalls, encrypting data, and executing multi-factor authentication or what is known as MFA.

Ownership: Taking the onus of relevant data in the supply chain will boost its authenticity, leading to improved data governance. Refined data simplifies and enables researches and helps in prompt decision-making.

Advanced Analytics: Transforming data into relevant strategic insights is one of the principal objectives for healthcare firms. This can be realised by implementing cutting-edge technologies like as AI, robotic process automation (RPA) and machine learning.

The real power of the data shall be actioned if the current systems are swapped with secured, integrated, and digitally relevant healthcare infrastructure. After all, a smart data supply chain can only lead to a smarter healthcare system.

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