Storing Medical Data: Useful Lessons from Retail That May Be Applied in Health IT

Storing Medical Data: Useful Lessons from Retail That May Be Applied in Health IT

The healthcare industry could learn many lessons from the domain of IT infrastructure, data storage and processing from retail sector according to Kate McCarthy of Forrester Research.

Data archiving, storage and analytics systems assist retail enterprises to understand consumer behaviour and decision making patterns; what people buy and when, based on travel plans, season, budget estimation and other factors.

According to McCarthy, many retail enterprises use such data mining not only to influence reactively consumers, but also to proactively understand their needs and preferences. If these methodologies would be applied in healthcare, it could significantly reduce inaccurate clinical outcomes and increase quality of care at the same time.

Asked to comment on that, Scott Wolf, CEO and  Director of Research for Grace Century said following: ?Healthcare is coming late to the technology party, and in particular the use of cloud technology, when it comes to analytics and insights, which has been a staple of retailers for a decade now. Few industries generate as much information as healthcare, however and ironically no industry is so lacking in the constructive usage of such data?.

According to Wolf?s estimations, approximately 10 billion medical transactions are handled in the US alone, with every individual doctor visit generating 6 to 10 transactions, yet the healthcare sector is chronically lacking in mining, analyzing and using data to provide better intelligence on its customers, in a way that will ultimately lead to better care. 

?This is something that retailers have been doing for 10 if not more years. The first step in that journey is to break down the silos, integrate data, and, yes, move all that data to the cloud. From our perspective, healthcare is about to make that transition, and the timing can?t be any better. All the developed world is aging, and even some parts of the developing world have aging populations, so if we as a society are going to control that exploding the $7 trillion (US) global healthcare tsunami, we hope that healthcare organizations begin to see the patient as a customer, and data as something that should be used actively to manage the care of patient, not just when they are sick, but also while they are well?, – he concluded.