Why Data Governance in Healthcare Matters in 2024 With Nithin Narayan Koranchirath

10 May 2024

The rise of electronic health records and the growing use of data analytics in healthcare have made data governance a key focus area for improving healthcare services to be safer, more efficient, and better tailored to individual patient needs.

The stakes are high, as a single breach in healthcare data can jeopardize patient confidentiality and weaken trust in the entire healthcare system. Astra Security reports that 51% of healthcare organizations have seen an uptick in data breaches since 2019, with hospitals facing increasing amounts of breaches over the last 12 years. Data governance is important not just for security but for ensuring data quality, integrity, and accessibility – all critical for informed decision-making in healthcare. The HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) Journal revealed that a whopping 133 million records were exposed or mishandled in 2023 alone, underscoring the need for proper data governance.

Healthcare data leaders like Nithin Narayan Koranchirath are rising to the challenge by championing proper data governance strategies in the healthcare industry. Nithin’s belief is that more awareness of the essential role data governance plays in healthcare will lead to increased adoption by the industry.

Managing Data in Healthcare

Data governance is not a box to tick and then be forgotten about; it is a strategic necessity in the healthcare industry. With the increasing amount of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and medical research data, healthcare institutions must guarantee that data remains precise, accessible, and secure. With inconsistencies in data across different EHR systems, there are more administrative tasks and potential risks to patient well-being than ever before.

The challenges for healthcare providers in handling data are maintaining privacy and security standards, complying with regulations, managing data sources effectively, and ensuring seamless communication between different systems.

Establishing a data governance program can enhance the delivery of healthcare services, foster innovation and research, improve decision-making in healthcare, and ensure compliance with laws like HIPAA and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

An Authority on Healthcare Data Management

Nithin Narayan Koranchirath, a professional in healthcare data management, stresses the significance of data governance. He has years of expertise overseeing various healthcare data systems, and emphasizes that "efficient data management goes beyond compliance, it aims at enhancing outcomes and streamlining healthcare services."

Data governance might appear as a subject typically reserved exclusively for IT experts, but its impact extends to everyone involved in the healthcare network. At its core, data governance entails managing data from the collection phase to its end use in patient care or research.

Nithin’s pivotal moment came when leading the Data and Analytics platform at his current organization, one of the United States’s largest healthcare providers, where he witnessed the transformative impact of data-driven insights. "This role allowed me to witness firsthand the power of data-driven insights in revolutionizing data analytics delivery and administration," Nithin reflects, solidifying his commitment to analytics and data-driven decision-making.

Grasping proper data governance practices empowers healthcare professionals with the knowledge to make informed decisions. This fundamental understanding reduces the chances of mistakes that could jeopardize safety. For patients, it offers reassurance that their personal data is handled with care and confidentiality. Additionally, implementing data governance measures such as utilizing Enterprise Master Patient Indexes (EMPI) can significantly enhance healthcare quality by providing an overview of patient records.

Implementing a Data Governance Framework Tailored for Healthcare

Healthcare professionals frequently encounter obstacles with data, such as difficulty accessing and safeguarding data, disorganized and isolated data sets, limited resource availability, and insufficient staff collaboration and training. Overcoming these challenges involves defining roles for adopting security measures, selecting a data management solution, allocating resources for data experts, and educating staff on effective data management practices.

When assessing options for data governance solutions, healthcare institutions should take into account several factors, including integration with existing systems, compliance with requirements, scalability, and ease of use. Platforms like Big Data, AWS, and Snowflake offer data governance capabilities for overseeing data governance processes while effectively addressing security concerns and regulatory demands.

Nithin’s work in implementing a comprehensive data governance framework at his organization via Big Data, AWS, and Snowflake underscores the practical benefits of such knowledge. "The implementation of robust data governance practices enabled us to achieve greater compliance with regulatory requirements and mitigate risks associated with data management," he explains. For healthcare professionals, this translates to better decision-making capabilities, and for patients, it means the assurance of data privacy and security.

AWS and Snowflake are cloud-based data management solutions that align seamlessly with the needs of the healthcare industry. It offers functionalities like data discovery, traceability, and search capabilities to help organizations streamline their approach to data governance while simultaneously enhancing security and compliance measures efficiently.

At the end of the day, leaders such as C-suite executives and IT managers ultimately bear responsibility for ensuring data governance practices are followed in an organization. However, every individual working within the healthcare sector plays a role in its success. Effective leadership should ensure that all staff members know the importance of data governance, while data experts should have a grasp on how data impacts staff operations.

Future Outlook for Data Governance in Healthcare

In an era defined by numerous technological advancements in healthcare, the importance of data governance is only set to grow. As we look towards the future, data governance in healthcare is poised to become a cornerstone of the United States healthcare system, playing a pivotal role in shaping economic outcomes. The U.S. healthcare sector, one of the largest contributors to the national economy, faces rising costs, inefficiencies, and demands for improved patient outcomes and privacy. Nithin’s hard work in solving these issues will have lasting positive effects not only on the healthcare industry but on the tech sector and the U.S. economy at large.

Additionally, with the standardization of data practices, interoperability across different healthcare systems can be improved. This improvement facilitates better coordination of care, especially for chronic disease management, which is a significant expenditure for the U.S. economy. Data governance addresses these challenges by enhancing the quality, accessibility, and security of healthcare data.

The path toward establishing effective data governance within healthcare is challenging but critical. As Nithin Narayan Koranchirath says himself, "Data governance is the backbone of a trustworthy healthcare system." By ensuring the integrity, accessibility, and security of healthcare data, the U.S. can improve its healthcare outcomes, reduce costs, and foster innovation, thereby enhancing its economic stability and growth.

This story was distributed by Jon Stojan Media under HackerNoon’s Brand As An Author Program. Learn more about the program here: https://business.hackernoon.com/brand-as-author