In healthcare, data plays a crucial role in painting a picture of the overall health of the nation. This is how reports about different health ailments and their frequency can be created and disseminated to the world.
As one can imagine, this data is immensely important and is likely to be attacked. Without an understanding of how different health ailments affect the population, the healthcare sector would have a difficult, if not impossible, time crafting widescale cures, treatments, and healthcare plans.
Unfortunately, if patient data is frequently compromised, crafting these insights and using them to benefit the public becomes much trickier. This being the case, it’s clear that keeping patient data accurate and regularly updated is key to keeping the public as healthy as possible – something that patient identification platforms like RightPatient can easily help with.
Here is how patient data integrity can improve public health.
More Accurate Insights
When patient data is up-to-date and correct, the insights gleaned from it are more likely to reflect the rest of the public. Conversely, if old or incorrect patient data is being used to glean insights, it will likely paint a false picture.
Unfortunately, many healthcare institutions across the country don’t always cross their t’s and dot their i’s when it comes to recording patient data. In some cases — especially in understaffed facilities — patient data is recorded by workers who may be unqualified to do so. While this may seem inconsequential at first glance, when this type of data is used to inform public opinions about health ailments, it can be extremely damaging.
In addition to some facilities allowing unqualified individuals to record patient data, many healthcare providers aren’t very detail-oriented when it comes to updating records. Just like inaccurate data, data that isn’t properly updated can also create bad insights that lead to faulty public health data.
Thankfully, a renewed focus on patient data collection and management can help to solve this problem and improve the health of the public at large. This being the case, it’s vital that the healthcare sector prioritizes proper patient data-related practices and helps experts make informed public health decisions with the help of accurate information.
Effectively Preventing the Spread of Disease
While some pandemics spread too fast and can’t be prevented, others can potentially be contained if caught early enough. Sadly, if patient data integrity is lacking in certain regions, it can make it difficult for experts and officials to effectively stop the spread of threatening diseases.
This highlights the need for robust patient data integrity in healthcare facilities across the nation. Without this, diseases can spread rampantly throughout communities, damage public health, and decrease levels of patient safety. As such, it’s abundantly apparent that patient data integrity needs to be taken seriously at all healthcare organizations.
Greater Ability to Efficiently Respond to Health Crises
As the world experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, health crises can be incredibly devastating — especially when we can’t efficiently and effectively respond to them. Though it’s not a silver bullet solution for curing all pandemics, having accurate patient data collection systems in place can help make public health recoveries far smoother.
In times of health crises and pandemics, public health experts and epidemiologists must have access to accurate data in order to form response plans. If the patient data that they are using is inaccurate, they may pour significant resources into plans that aren’t as effective as they could have been with the right data.
Given the importance of correctly recorded and updated patient data in these scenarios, it’s key that healthcare providers have systems in place to accurately collect and update data — even when under significant duress and lacking sufficient staff.
Having these safeguards in place can ensure that experts in charge of crafting plans to respond to these crises can do so effectively. Consequently, it’s clear that patient data integrity has the power to greatly improve public health and likely even save lives.
How Healthcare Organizations Can Ensure They’re Accurately Recording Patient Data
While many in healthcare and public health are thoroughly convinced that the integrity of patient data is important, it’s not always an easy task to accomplish. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to ensure that patient data is always correct and public health is at its best.
Some steps that healthcare organizations can take include:
Oversight: Leaders in healthcare organizations must ensure that all healthcare workers authorized to record patient data are doing so properly. When there is little or no oversight of this sort, mistakes and poor recording habits are far more likely to develop into a systemic problem.
Responsibility: When there are no systems in place that require healthcare workers to note when they record patient data, there’s no trail that leads back to employees who engage in poor practices. As such, it’s crucial for healthcare organizations to require all employees who record patient data to attribute the notes to themselves.
Regular updating: If there’s no structure in place that requires healthcare employees to update patient data regularly, it’s not very likely to get done. This being the case it’s vital that all organizations prioritize this practice and make it compulsory every time a patient receives care.
Patient Data Is Key to Keeping the Public Safe
Though most people don’t think about it, patient data plays an incredibly important role in public safety. From helping experts respond to health crises to stopping the spread of diseases, it’s vital that patient data integrity is high. The more that healthcare organizations prioritize the accurate recording and updating of patient data, the more that public health will benefit.