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5 Notable Digital Trends in the Healthcare Industry

June 25, 2019
5 Notable Digital Trends in the Healthcare Industry

As with many industries, healthcare has made strides to become more digital over the years. This trend has resulted in multiple improvements toward patient care and internal systems, and the push to digitize the healthcare industry isn’t slowing down anytime soon. From new ways to treat patients to improving electronic health records, here are some notable trends in the healthcare industry.

Virtual Care

As technology advances, more healthcare providers have shifted to providing convenient consultations in a virtual or mobile setting. Virtual care offerings like telemedicine and remote patient monitoring devices have led to affordable, effective ways to provide care that’s both convenient to practitioners and patients. As patients and doctors become more tech savvy, virtual care allows doctors and other healthcare professionals to see more patients and give these patients access to experts without having to worry about being in a different location at set times.

Wearables/Internet of Things

Health-based wearable items aren’t a new discovery, but more healthcare organizations are turning to the Internet of Things (IoT) and data-sharing devices to help learn more about patients. Wearable devices allow healthcare professionals to track important data in real time whether patients are in a medical facility, at home, or anywhere else. The IoT allows these professionals to then collect that data for and add it to electronic health records and other files that these professionals will need to access to determine treatment methods and make other data-based determinations.

The Cloud

Yahoo Finance estimates that the global healthcare cloud computing market will continue to grow from now through 2026, reaching a $40 billion market value at that time. As the healthcare industry continues to grow, more hospitals and other organizations are turning to move their IT infrastructure off premises and to affordable, scalable hosted search solutions that allow them to free up physical space and cut staffing costs.

Increased Security

As hospitals collect more personal information and invest in more internet connectivity through the internet of things and cloud-based data, the more they need to take cybersecurity seriously. BusinessWire reports that IoT-related data breaches rose from 15 to 26 percent since 2017. As healthcare data becomes more digital – which it will – it’s imperative that the healthcare industry continue to increase security efforts to protect both medical institutions and patients from cyberattacks. As a result, security spending should continue to rise in the healthcare industry.

EHR Optimization

Electronic health record systems are commonplace in the healthcare industry, but more organizations are taking steps to make their data more accessible and interactive. Investments in new data infrastructure, such as databases that can store and retrieve vast amounts of structured data, have allowed organizations to clean up their electronic health records. This shift allows healthcare professionals to easily organize and retrieve information through a database management system – as long as they also have the right search technology to search internal and external information for an entire organization.

Achieve Flexible Data Management Through Enterprise Search Technology

As the medical industry becomes more digital, there will be even more ways to collect and access important information. As a result, it’s increasingly important that healthcare organizations invest in the right search technology so that users always have access to the right information. Not only will this improve interoperability, better access to complete patient information allows healthcare professionals to provide a truly value-based care system for their patients.

For example, flexible data management allows medical practitioners to find what they need right away, whether they’re using a desktop or a mobile device. If a doctor needs to look up drug facts for a patient, they can filter their search to find the right information. Meanwhile, the system can also anonymize information if it recognizes personal information. This allows researchers to reference case information without seeing patient names or other sensitive info in search snippets. It can even block access to certain users to keep your organization compliant with HIPAA.

When you need to achieve flexible data management, Thunderstone can help. Our suite of search engine software and applications features the fully integrated structure of an SQL relational database (RDBMS) that intelligently queries and manages databases of up to hundreds of millions of records. This gives you the ability to store and search massive text documents within standard database table.

Don’t settle for a search solution that doesn’t give you complete access to your data. Request a demo today to test out Thunderstone’s enterprise search solutions for yourself or contact us to talk to one of our experts about we can help your organization control its information.

The Need for Flexible Data Management in the Healthcare Industry

March 18, 2019
The Need for Flexible Data Management in the Healthcare Industry

Access to information is vital for any business or organization. For the healthcare industry, this access can have life-changing effects. Unfortunately for healthcare providers, researchers, and administrative staff, healthcare organizations don’t always have an effective search solution that allows health workers to efficiently access the information they need to complete crucial tasks or make important decisions.

How bad is the search problem in the healthcare industry? According to a TEDx Talk by Dr. Karl Kochendorfer, some healthcare professionals turn to Wikipedia for vital information instead of official sources because they have such a hard time finding what they need through their organization’s search setup. In addition, Kochendorfer cites that clinicians spend a third of their time simply looking for information.

It shouldn’t be hard for healthcare professionals to find the information they need, but there are many obstacles that stand in the way. High-performance search engine software and search appliances can be part of the solution.

Why Does the Healthcare Industry Need a Better Search Solution?

A massive amount of data without the proper search solution makes for an inefficient, ineffective setup for retrieving key information. Healthcare information takes many forms, all of which play an important role. These can include just about anything that can be documented and stored, such as:

  • Patient information
  • Procedural details
  • Patient care policies
  • Reference tools and medical literature
  • Forms
  • Benefits information

No matter what form these pieces of information take, a single health care organization can amass a massive amount of data that must be available to a wide range of staff. According to the Stanford Medicine 2017 Health Trends Report, “the sheer volume of health care data is growing at an astronomical rate: 153 exabytes (one exabyte = one billion gigabytes) were produced in 2013 and an estimated 2,314 exabytes will be produced in 2020.” Even the medical collection of one doctor can become massive, as the Jeghers Medical Index’s contained a collection of roughly five million physical pages amassed by Dr. Harold Jeghers.

Another issue is that these documents are typically stored in various repositories, such as:

  • Content management systems
  • Institutional document libraries
  • Team sites
  • Electronic medical record databases
  • Intranets
  • Email servers
  • File systems

As healthcare organizations continue to gather more information, they need to find a way to store new documents with pre-existing files and other data. Given the wide variety of medical subjects and types of files, information is typically stored in separate data silos.

While this system organizes different types of information into logical groupings, it can also create a situation where individuals need to search individual portals to find the right information they need. For example, a silo that contains insurance carrier documentation would likely not allow professionals to parse through notes from doctors and other providers. This scenario can make searches take longer than it should, and that’s if these users are even able to find the information they need. According to ComputerWeekly “it is estimated that knowledge workers spend more than twice as much time recreating content than they spend creating new content” because they can’t find existing files.

That means that healthcare organizations need to invest in high-performance search engine software or hardware that can not only handle hundreds of thousands of files, but also give users the ability to quickly and easily find what they need regardless of where the information is stored.

How Enterprise Search Technology Benefits Healthcare Organizations

Access to information is crucial. A high-performance enterprise search solution gives you the ability to search internal and external information across an entire organization. Enterprise search is designed to parse through a vast array of information found on multiple repositories. This allows different types of users within that organization, such as medical practitioners, administrative staff, and others, to look for and find the information they need.

However, the same user can have different needs depending on the specific search. For example, a doctor searching for drug facts during a patient visit will want different results than one looking up medical literature during lab work. To combat this, custom filtering can be set up so that certain types of results show up depending on the device used, such as a desktop in a research laboratory or an office laptop. In addition, custom filtering can be added to the searches themselves so that users can improve the relevancy of their search results both before and after their initial query.

While enterprise search software allows user to quickly and easily search for information, the technology behind it is far more complex. Enterprise search technology actively organizes information found in multiple repositories through metatagging, taxonomies, and categorization. This process creates a searchable index from various repositories. This enables the search software to logically find information for future queries so that users receive relevant information both quickly and efficiently.

Part of the reason enterprise search software makes it easier for users to find what they need is the types of searches it allows them to do. A customizable thesaurus feature allows organizations to improve the effectiveness of terminology that is more common to their industry. This can help improve the relevance of results by tying in generalities, associated phrases, acronyms, spelling variations, or other appropriate word associations. For the healthcare industry, this can help clear up issues when professionals search for a brand name drug or a generic drug, procedure names, medical abbreviations, or any other healthcare-specific terminology.

Enterprise search can also improve the effectiveness of searches involving statistics or data ranges. If a healthcare professional had a specific question or needed to find a certain data point, enterprise search would be able to parse through relevant literature and studies to yield appropriate results.

Another issue is that some information should only be accessible to certain users. Whether it’s due to HIPAA, meaningful use, or any other reason, certain documents should only be findable by certain individuals. HIPAA in particular requires a search solution that protects patient record from the wrong people. For example, even a search snippet can accidentally reveal patient names, so it’s important to invest in a solution that can anonymize these snippets and keep files accessible only by approved users. Enterprise search can be designed to give and remove access to certain repositories to different classes of users, whether it’s an admin level user or a member of the public.

How Thunderstone Solves Search Issues for Healthcare Organizations

Of course, the success of an enterprise search solution is only as good as the technology is uses. Thunderstone offers a suite of search solutions It is the only search engine software available with the fully integrated structure of an SQL relational database (RDBMS) that intelligently queries and manages databases containing:

  • Natural language text
  • Standard data types
  • Geographic information
  • Images
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Other payload data

In addition, Thunderstone offers search engine software solutions that can handle databases with tens of millions of large records and even hundreds of millions of records and can store and search text documents of unlimited size within standard database tables.

Another issue is that medical documents can contain specific language not found in typical files. Thunderstone search solutions have an English language vocabulary of up to 250,000 word and phrase concept associations for natural language queries, as well as excellent proximity control, fuzzy searches, true regular expression matching and written numerical value searches for even more refined, accurate searches.

In short, Thunderstone enterprise search technology gives healthcare organization the power to handle massive amounts of data and the flexibility to manage their needs. If you’re in need of a search solution that allows gives your organization the ability to access your data when your users need it, request a demo today to test our technology for yourself or contact us to talk to a Thunderstone expert and your organization’s search needs.