Big Data and Patient Protection: Is Your Patient Data Safe?

January 19, 2017

The adoption of digital in healthcare organizations has seen a staggering increase in the past few years. Just five years ago, only 19% of non-federal acute care hospitals were using electronic health record (EHR) systems. Today, however, EHR systems have largely become the norm. Doctors now have the ability to analyze patient records more efficiently and overlay individual patient information with overall population health data. In the next several years, the collection of patient data will only continue to grow as healthcare systems will share information among disparate organizations, leading to more robust healthcare insights across multiple providers and resulting in better patient outcomes. The spread of IoT-enabled health trackers will provide real-time insights outside of hospital visits and regularly scheduled doctor appointments to provide a holistic view of a patient’s progress. Ultimately, the healthcare industry’s goal is to transition to proactive treatment, rather than reactive, to reduce hospital readmissions, improve patient outcomes, and lower costs.

Healthcare providers must recognize the growing importance of data protection  as the generation of patient data continues to proliferate. The ethical use of big data and patient protection is a growing concern in the space. Questions around who should have access, how doctors should be trained in data analysis, and how data systems should be secured are among the biggest questions the industry is facing. Most technology experts believe a cloud-based solution is the answer to siloed patient records  and disparate health data. A cloud solution allows for data integration, flexibility, and connectivity between health providers. But in order to remain HIPAA-compliant, cloud solutions will be extremely complex and require a deep understanding of the backend technologies.

In a recent survey, approximately 88% of consumers said they are willing to share their personal health data with healthcare providers to improve their own health and find new treatments (HRI Consumer Survey, PwC, 2015 and HRI Clinician Workforce Survey, PwC, 2014 and 2015). With the majority of consumers on board, healthcare organizations need to act quickly to enhance their data systems, entrusting their information to highly regarded service providers who can help them navigate the murky waters of patient data protection. Data protection should be the topmost priority as the industry finds itself on the cusp of major technological changes in how information can be shared and stored. In order to meet customer demands, hospitals will need to partner with data experts to build solutions that are 100% HIPAA-compliant while offering patients a new wave of medical care through data analysis and personalization.

To learn more about the Hospital of the Future, and what Big Data solutions will look like for complex healthcare organizations, check out our free white paper here.