What is health data integrity? Data integrity refers to “the process of maintaining the accuracy, reliability and consistency of data over its entire ‘life-cycle.’ Applied to healthcare, this can include (but is not limited to) maintaining the accuracy of patient’s personal details, health summary, clinical notes, test results and family information.”
Data is needed to make informed decisions about patient care. Data governance (how an organization manages its data assets) provides healthcare organizations with a standardized method of sharing medical data to provide the highest quality of care to patients.
Data integrity can impact any stage in the data life-cycle. This applies to data in electronic form or as a hardcopy. Therefore, it is important to understand the lifecycle elements for each type of data.
Data governance and data integrity are very often the first things to get forgotten, especially in a crisis like a pandemic. But when it comes to patients’ information, data protection is of the highest importance, needing security measures like encryption, restricted access to servers and two-factor authentication.
Ransomware attacks have been significant issues to healthcare cybersecurity even before COVID-19. During these tough times it’s really challenging to get the attention and resources to address the cybersecurity issues that existed before the pandemic, especially with the increase in the number of telemedicine visits. There’s currently nothing more important in healthcare than the ability to reliably test for COVID-19. Even though the resources or the attention may not be there, cybersecurity is still one of the most important issues for healthcare.
Data integrity is the top priority when utilizing data analytics, as they “have the potential to not only monitor clinical operations, but actually transform those operations and healthcare delivery as a whole — so long as the integrity of the core data can be ensured.”
Covid-19 has accelerated digital transformation in the healthcare industry. Protecting privacy and avoiding breaches is essential, especially when patient data needs to be routinely shared to deliver services. There needs to be transparency in times of a global pandemic. Having multiple, actionable data is the key.
Data integrity and patient privacy are crucial to the future of our healthcare system. If we’re working with the wrong data, we’re wasting time and important resources during the pandemic. One of the greatest challenges in the post-COVID-19 era will be to improve the handling of health data to provide better connectivity between health systems.