Data Quality in Healthcare Information Systems

Collection of data is a very crucial aspect of every organization’s management today. This is because the data collected by the organizations are very necessary in obtaining facts and drawing conclusions regarding particular situations or phenomenon. These organizations can be corporate institutions, healthcare institutions, and scientific research institutions and so on. It is, therefore, very important that the data collected be of high quality so that the conclusion drawn from it also becomes accurate. This write up, therefore, discusses the importance of the quality data to the healthcare information systems and how to improve the integrity, accuracy, clarity and the timeliness of the data.

According to McLaughlin & Kaluzny, data is a collection of facts which can be values, measurements, observations or even description of things which can be used to draw a conclusion in a given circumstance. On the other hand, data quality is the fitness of the collected data to serve its intended purpose. For any particular data to be of quality, it should, therefore, be accurate, relevant, complete, consistent, and accessible.

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Quality data is very important, particularly in the healthcare institutions since it adds credibility to their information systems. This is by ensuring that the patients’ or the clients’ information is secured and protected for future reference. It also reduces the medical errors which could be experienced due to inconsistent patient information.

Rodrigues also notes that quality data in the healthcare institutions such as the hospitals helps reduce the costs which could result from the duplicative care of the patients as a result of using unupdated data. Additionally, he notes that quality data enhances proper decision making when offering health care services to patients. Moreover, it eases the coordination between the hospitals’ departments such as the laboratories, x-ray rooms and the physician rooms. Finally, it facilitates the clinical research processes for the improved quality of healthcare.

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However, for a data to achieve integrity, clarity, accuracy, and timeliness, those handling it should be thoroughly trained on the specific data requirements. The healthcare institutions should also establish the transaction standards and the privacy standards for the use and disclosure of an individual’s health information.

Rodrigues further notes that the legal requirements and the professional norms should be observed strictly when handling the data containing the patients’ information. Additionally, he proposes that computers can be used for electronic data storage; such as the Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE). Finally, the management of the healthcare institutions should also provide the manual containing the procedure for collection and storage of data to the data collectors so as to improve on the clarity of the data.

In conclusion, to achieve improved healthcare services, quality data should be maintained by the healthcare institutions and strategies formulated on how to improve the quality of the data.

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