Effectively Managing Information in the Healthcare Industry

The Healthcare sector deals with an enormous influx of information on a daily basis, with a constant flow of health records being created, filed and retrieved, as and when required. Due to compliance and security regulations for the health, well-being and confidence of patients, effective information management is vital.

To enable the health sector to function swiftly and most importantly, without error, information must be managed in a way that highlights efficiency and enables easy access without ever compromising the aforementioned compliance and security measures.

Meeting the data management security and compliance standards of the healthcare industry

As required by law, healthcare providers must comply with information management governance practices. These practices surround the collection, disclosure, and requests for information. They also cover the storage, retention and disposal of that information. For further information on the key elements of a robust information management policy, please click here

Healthcare providers need to be mindful of their information assets:

  • Where is the data stored?
  • Is the data properly backed up? Does the organisation have a data restoration and disaster recovery plan?
  • What is the retention strategy?
  • Who can access and dispose of the data? Is there an audit trail to show access?
  • For more information on how to implement a compliant information management policy click here:  compliance-checklist.pdf

How to reduce the risk for a data breach


Why is healthcare data management so important?

In 2014, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology confirmed that roughly 7% of New Zealand medical records are duplicated or mismatched. These errors can result in the maltreatment of patients, and ultimately their overall healthcare outcomes. It is therefore paramount that data is managed in a way that minimises error without suffering the loss of efficiency, as efficiency is also vital in an industry where information may need to be accessed quickly to ensure the well-being of some patients.

How can you enhance inefficient paper-based processes?

Almost any paper-based business process (such as the processing of suppliers invoices or employee leave requests) can be made more efficient with the application of workflow software. By automating business processes and decision making, your business will gain greater control, visibility and consistency within your processes. Every organisation is different and faces their own unique challenges regardless of size and complexity and that’s why it’s important to look for solutions that allow you to customise automated workflows specific to your business requirements.

How can you capture and manage diverse inbound data?

Converting business files and records to digital images and associated metadata prove most effective for businesses who need to quickly access information from stored documents and who want to reduce the time it takes for staff to manually search and retrieve files and documents. As well as imaging services for digitising files, data extraction services are another solution that could be helpful in this space for complex indexing requirements which commonly assist in removing in-house data entry (such as new client contracts, application forms, or invoices).

How can you improve discovery and access to records?

eDiscovery applications and technology enable businesses to pull information and records from the massive volumes of content that span the enterprise. They allow you to convert and store Electronically Stored Information (ESI) in the form of electronic documents, e-mail, voicemail, instant and text messages, databases, digital images, multimedia files and file metadata. eDiscovery technologies can search through content on scanned documents, limiting the possibility of duplicating pre-existing data and allowing fast and easy access by having all information stored digitally in one place.

How can you securely store and archive your information?

Almost every business stores information digitally and if something unexpected happens, the backed-up data is essential to ensure business continuity. Traditional vault-based storage, as well as cloud-hosted solutions and disaster recovery, are both options for managing your back-ups. Your data management plan needs to prevent the loss of access should files be deleted, or online access is compromised. Finally, a records management service can also provide secure and reliable physical document storage, where your own premises may not offer sufficient space.

How can you securely destroy unwanted information?

Ensure the compliance and security of your data by securely destroying important patient and operational data. From onsite secure bins through to bulk destruction of documents and records and e-Waste services, there are a range of solutions to assist you in meeting your obligations in this space. Give yourself peace of mind that sensitive data residing in documents, or on decommissioned computer equipment is not able to be accessed by the wrong people.

How can you meet security, privacy and compliance standards?

Use an expert third-party service provider (such as TIMG) who offers a comprehensive range of information management solutions for the healthcare industry. TIMG manage sensitive records for medical practices, hospitals and specialist healthcare providers, who by default, demand the highest level of information security and process auditability/transparency of both physical and digital information. We understand that security and privacy are paramount when it comes to your sensitive data and that’s why we have strict processes and procedures in place to protect your business and patient information.

TIMG can provide further consultancy around best practises in managing your digital and physical health records so that risks are minimised, and access is improved.

Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you improve your information management practices.