By Michael R. Ball, PhD, Senior Vice President, BridgeHead Software

As a closely-allied partner of MEDITECH, BridgeHead Software has provided solutions that complement the MEDITECH Health Care Information System (HCIS) with backup, disaster recovery and archiving functionality for more than a decade. Each Spring, our team looks forward to the International MUSE Conference – MEDITECH’s user conference – as a way to engage directly with our customers across the globe and pinpoint the data concerns that are keeping them up at night.

While a hospital’s datacenter might be the heart of its IT operations, the experts at BridgeHead know that storage, backup and archiving issues extend well beyond that group, influencing the life-critical care decisions and clinical functions throughout the enterprise. This year, we identified the seven most-pressing data management concerns facing healthcare providers today, and asked respondents to rank them from most (1) to least (7) challenging for their own hospitals and health systems. Here are the results in order:

  1. Completing The Patient Record – The challenge of bringing together data from disparate silos across the healthcare organization to allow easier access to patient information.
  2. Empowering The Medical Team – The challenge of facilitating access and availability of a single patient record to multi-disciplinary teams.
  3. Improving Data Quality – The challenge of establishing a ‘clean’ data environment that enforces standards.
  4. Simplifying Application and Storage Migration – The challenge of making data available to new applications or new storage technology with minimal disruption.
  5. Retiring Legacy Applications – The challenge of providing a searchable, intelligent and secure store for content from legacy applications that are being retired or taken permanently offline.
  6. Managing Your Medical Images – The challenge of removing barriers between clinical departments by managing and sharing ALL clinical images.
  7. Aggregating Healthcare Data for Secondary Use – The challenge of removing the burden of analytics and secondary use (e.g. research) from primary applications.

Survey results clearly illustrated that storage, backup and archiving is no longer just a function and responsibility of the IT department, and that the right software solutions can have a dramatic effect on the clinical challenges hospitals face on a daily basis.

The poll captured input from nearly 150 international industry stakeholders – from clinical analysts to IT directors, application analysts to CIOs, and RNs to pharmacists, among many more. Overwhelmingly, we saw that there were three challenges that consistently ranked as the highest priorities from our respondents, 1. Completing The Patient Record, 2. Empowering The Medical Team and 3. Improving Data Quality. These results simply reinforce the heavy clinical implications and importance of health data management – not just in the IT departments, but across the enterprise.

Of course, this is important information for us as we look to continually improve the features and functionality of BridgeHead’s Independent Clinical Archive (ICA) – HealthStore™. We also want to use this information to help us better communicate how the industry’s next-generation VNA alleviates those burdens by serving as an enterprise-wide, cross-department repository to store, protect and share all of their patient and administrative data.

What did you think about the polling results – do you agree? What challenges would make your organization’s top three?

Click on the links above for additional educational information on each of the seven challenges, and we’ll continue to share the latest insights for healthcare providers to better complete the patient record, empower the medical team, and improve data quality.