Nancy Fabozzi, principal analyst at Frost & Sullivan, comments that the lack of data standards for Electronic Health Records (EHRs) is hindering the ability of hospitals to exchange data. “One diagnosis can be referred to in many different ways. Without standards around patient identification, clinical data and terminology, the quality of data may be questioned.” Poor quality data can lead to poor care.
In connection with data integration, she says: “Hospitals have not done a good job of putting all their data pieces together within the organization as well as external to the organization. Digitizing the data is the first step, but the data also has to flow.”
To me, these issues are the same. You can only successfully integrate data around common definitions. And you can only successfully exchange data if the transacting partners share a set of common definitions.
It's helpful to think in terms of flow rather than standardization for its own sake. People sometimes think data standards are just for those with very, very organized minds. But standards are vital to everybody – because they create flow. Data has to flow through the organization and to partners, customers and regulators. Whatever your industry, you need flow. Hospital Review