A Patient Information System contains all the critical data about patients from their medical records to their financial records and everything in-between. A patient information system is what helps doctors and nurses do their jobs properly by attending to patients and providing care while fully equipped with all the information necessary for them to do so. A healthcare organization needs to have proper data storage management in other to have a wholesome patient information system. Below are some steps that healthcare organizations can take to ensure they have a solid and high-quality data storage for their patient information system.
Vet Patient Information System
There is no shortage of companies and contractors that can provide data storage services to healthcare organizations. There are storage solutions that are viable but there are also some that are not as viable or trustworthy. Hospitals need to choose data storage providers that provide excellent technical support, secure storage and a user-friendly and easy to navigate interface.
The quality of the data storage is important because patient information should be kept safe at all times and doctors and nurses should be able to access it whenever they need in a timely and secure fashion. Some other features to take note of in a is storage size, storage scalability, security, thin provisioning, tiering and deduplication.
The healthcare organization needs to have some form of certainty that they are not adding on to risks involved with data storage by using specific providers. While all these needs to be taken not off, the healthcare organization also needs to choose a data storage facility that meets their specific needs.
It might be a great storage solution but if it’s not tailored to the specific needs of the organization then it won’t be a good fit. For example, there are data storage providers that are very advanced and provide all the top tier options and services, fro a small doctors practice that just needs a small and simple solution, this won’t be a good fit even though the data storage facility is reliable and secure.
Lastly, healthcare organizations should perform due diligence before purchasing a data storage system or contract but the due diligence shouldn’t end there. They should continue to do due diligence throughout the life cycle of the contract and relationship with the vendor.
Avoid Data Redundancy
It is not uncommon for databases to contain redundant data. When a healthcare organization does not have a solid data plan and patient information system map, there is bound to be redundant data stored in the data.
For example, when a patient is attended to by doctors from different departments, there is bound to be some overlap in the data stored by both doctors – data like patient vitals, past medications taken by patients etc. When this happens there is redundant dat inputted into the system, however, a proper patient information system data planning, will merge any redundant data and get rid of unnecessary data.
Now storing redundant data used to be less common back when companies had to buy disk space and account or every storage space and memory used because it cost money. Now, data redundancy is a more rampant problem because of the abundance of data storage availability.
Cloud storage is incredibly cheap if not free and there is always excess space. So no much attention is paid to redundant data because there is no need to manage space. However, the negative consequences of data redundancy are still present howbeit not noticeable right away. Some of these problems are having a slower database, important information being lost in the staff of excess data etc.
Ensure Data Security
The topic of data security has been discussed over and over again and will continue to be discussed. This is because the importance of keeping data secure cannot be over-emphasized. Data security has to be a priority to healthcare organizations.
A patient information system that is not kept secure could lead to devastating consequences both for the healthcare organization and for the patients. Data should be password and login protected and important data should be encrypted so that unscrupulous third-parties such as data thieves, hackers etc cannot access it.
Data Backup and Recovery
A patient information system needs to have a solid data recovery and a backup plan. There are numerous ways that data can be lost or compromised from natural disasters, to external attack or virus attacks etc. If data is not backed-up properly it could all be lost which leads to dire consequences for the healthcare organization and also for the patients.
Healthcare organizations can leverage technologies that use deduplication, snapshotting and cloning which more control of the data while also saving space. Now in addition to having a solid data backup plan, there should also be a data recovery plan. If data is backup but can be recovered when needed, then the purpose of the backup is defeated.
Make sure the data is in the right formats so the data does not get corrupted and make sure the recovery can be done in a timely and secure manner so there are no hitches or glitches when the data needs to be recovered.
So whichever method or methods of backup a healthcare organization uses, they should ensure that they test them regularly like every six months. This is so any issues with recovery can be identified quickly and fixed while it still can.