Why Data Governance is Essential in Healthcare Finance

May 24, 2023

Understanding the History of Healthcare Data 

Today, while more than 95% of healthcare organizations possess electronic health records (EHRs), this was not the case until recent years. Prior to EHRs, patients’ personal health information was stored away in physical folders and file boxes. This process resulted in a magnitude of problems such as missing patient records, limited privacy and security of patient data, a lack of interoperability, as well as a missed opportunity for this information to be used to predict the future of patient care. 

The development of EHR systems resulted in a complete 360 when it came to how healthcare providers worked. EHRs now give providers the ability to deliver better healthcare through their system’s various functions.
A few benefits of EHRs include:  

  • Increased security and privacy of patient data 
  • Reduced medical errors and improved care 
  • Quick access to up-to-date and complete patient records 
  • Interoperability  

Managing Data Integrity and Policy in Healthcare

Data is one of the biggest assets for healthcare organizations and with the exponential growth in data sources comes a need for data management. Leading healthcare organizations across the nation are tackling this need by establishing or working toward implementing a data governance committee at their healthcare system or hospital. Data governance is an organization-wide initiative that verifies the availability, integrity, security and usability of the data available. It is the practice of managing data assets throughout their lifecycle to ensure they meet organizational quality and integrity standards.

Establishing a data governance strategy takes work, but it is crucial to healthcare organizations and should not be put off. An effective data governance strategy opens the door to better analysis and understanding of the data that can impact clinical decisions and cultivate population health initiatives. The number one goal when establishing a healthcare data governance strategy is to make sure stakeholders and end users across the organization have access to the right data at the right time so they can make better informed business decisions.

Taking the time to ensure that the data is clean, accurate and easy to digest allows stakeholders to build trust in the data and improve patient care. Before you can deliver insightful analytics to the right people within your organization, you need the right data. Take advantage of resources like the HFMA-Strata L7 Cost Accounting Adoption Model to determine where other organizations are utilizing their comprehensive and accurate cost data and how your organization could, too.

Enhancing Healthcare Data Management and Integrity with Appropriate Tools 

Having access to high-integrity data is what drives strategic decisions. Healthcare providers have little to no access to accurate, comprehensive and actionable information on the cost of care.  According to a recent survey, 90% of healthcare leaders are “flying blind” when it comes to understanding cost. As the business model of healthcare continues to shift and operating margins continue to shrink, understanding the true cost of care has become mission critical for hospitals and healthcare delivery systems. Without access to data and hospital accounting basics, you cannot reduce variation, waste and inefficiency to invest in and improve care. 

Organizations can leverage accurate, high-integrity data for comprehensive costing that can help deliver more powerful insights to the organization and enable more complex and strategic decision-making by staff. The HFMA-Strata L7 Cost Accounting Adoption Model enables you to evaluate your existing cost accounting methods in comparison to those of similar organizations. This model comprises seven levels, with each level building on the previous one, enabling organizations to enhance the precision of cost accounting and conveniently access cost data using effective methodologies. With each level progression, advanced costing processes and workflows are implemented, generating more substantial and precise results. Moreover, the model evaluates the current deficiencies in source system data and aids in standardizing and automating data recording. 

The healthcare industry is witnessing the emergence of a new category known as the Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) system. This system is a software platform that combines financial and clinical perspectives and utilizes data from these sources to generate valuable insights. By utilizing clinical data from electronic health records and accounting-based information from enterprise resource planning systems, healthcare organizations can facilitate frontline and operational staff in making informed decisions. EPM systems provide healthcare leaders and their teams with access to relevant information, which can aid in making intelligent decisions by leveraging clinical and financial data. Deploying cloud-based EPM systems can significantly enhance your organization’s performance and drive transformation in multiple areas by harnessing the power of data.   

As healthcare organizations are increasingly embracing EPM systems to integrate their clinical and financial data, it’s crucial for them to also cultivate a performance-driven culture. This involves using actionable metrics, contextual analytics, and a consistent process to drive performance. By doing so, healthcare providers can better connect the dots between their clinical and financial data and achieve improved outcomes for their patients. 

Building Upon Your Data Governance Foundation

At Strata Decision Technology, we specialize in offering healthcare providers a distinctive range of software and service solutions that can help them analyze, plan, and perform better. Our network includes more than 400 health systems and 2,000 hospitals, enabling us to cater to a broad range of healthcare providers. Our team has earned the trust of several well-known healthcare organizations, including Kaiser Permanente, Cleveland Clinic, Intermountain and many others. Through our network, you can connect and share best practices with your peers in the industry. 

For over two decades, Strata has been devoted to serving the healthcare industry, and we continue to do so each day. Our platforms are designed to support healthcare customers in the cloud with the highest level of security – HITRUST certified. We are committed to delivering innovative solutions to our customers, helping them enhance their operations and achieve their goals.