Joel Arun Sursas Discusses How Data Silos Are Hindering the Modern Healthcare Industry 

Once upon a time, a healthcare professional’s job revolved around just providing care to patients, but those days are long gone. Now, health care professionals have new administrative requirements and a consistently growing competitive market. On average, paperwork and administrative tasks take up about ten hours per week for professionals in healthcare. 

For medical doctors like Joel Arun Sursas, elements that take away from providing care can pose frustration. Such aggravation is only escalated when healthcare workers must enter the same information repeatedly.

Joel Arun Sursas, Head of Clinical Affairs at the medical device start-up company Biorithm, said that data silos cause these delays in healthcare. Data silos spark problems in coordinating patient care, reducing patient data value, and opening opportunities for errors. Dr. Joel Arun Sursas goes into detail regarding the downfalls of data silos and the answers for such issues like HIPAA Compliant solutions that help ease administrative burdens by breaking down data silos and easily integrating with systems. 

What are data silos?

A data silo is a group of collected raw data that can only be accessed by one group or department in an organization, while the rest of that organization is isolated from accessing such information [1]. Thus, the reality of data silos causes an extreme lack of transparency, trust, and efficiency within the entire organization. In addition, data silos result in wasted resources and inhibited productivity. Other issues data silos can motivate fall into cultural, structural, and technological categories. 

Culturally, data silos can lead to departments within an organization working against each other rather than together due to competition or animosity, causing departments to hide data from others. Structurally, data silos can grow from a hierarchy, separating various management layers and specific staff of qualifying expertise. This instance is seen in many cases in larger company environments. Technologically, data silos can create confusion due to applications lacking design, capability, or employee use to add other departments or cross-reference. For example, a practical application might not be accessible in one department like it is in another because of day-to-day task differencing application purchases. 

From a patient’s perspective

Data silos cause uncontrollable issues for patients who have to utilize more than one healthcare industry department. For example, uncoordinated end-stage renal disease (ESRD) care [2] can result in severe consequences for thousands of patients. Those who suffer from ESRD suffer from the gradual failure of kidneys. Many ESRD patients have to be on dialysis, which calls for a clinic visit several times a week to filter toxins from the blood. ESRD patients who might also have low blood pressure or other issues that lead them to the emergency department could not receive the best possible personal health care due to uncoordinated ESRD care. This fluke happens when the emergency department and the dialysis unit lack a shared electronic health record of a specific patient. On top of that, failure of clear communication between the emergency department and dialysis unit upon the patient’s discharge and between the dialysis unit and the patient’s primary care doctor can result in unnecessary medication changes or lack of knowledge to multiple providers of a medication change. 

Revolving problems like uncoordinated ESRD care create massive barriers for families, patients, caregivers, and society on a national level [3]. The success of data silos falls short, as in the end, integrating data silos boils down to how much work a healthcare organization is willing to put forth into making data silos proactive. Healthcare organizations must commit to the process of data integration, invest in the proper tools and technology for data analytics and meaningful data integration, address employee issues surrounding data sharing, embrace a transparent data sharing culture, and strive to seek innovative ways to collaborate around data within healthcare ecosystems. 

Necessary Change

For the sake of helping doctors care for more patients and more patients being adequately cared for, the healthcare industry needs to progress and take a step beyond the data silos. Such necessary changes will require real-time communication and convenient and valuable adjustments for all main stakeholders [4]. The future of information sharing must take a three-pronged advancement to knock down communication barriers, allowing patient data sharing to be primarily driven by pharmacies. Physicians, manufacturers, and pharmacies will all utilize a single digital platform to share patient data. Based on real-world data, this single shared platform will also analyze other trends. The use of real-world data will create proactive platforms that will skip clinical trials to make patient recommendations and deliver the correct treatment. Such an approach will lift the current burden of ineffectively proven electronic health records weigh on doctors, enhance current operations for all parties, and put the patient first. 

About Joel Arun Sursas

Joel Arun Sursas is a Medical Doctor and Health Informatician motivated to solve administrative problems in healthcare. His determination to work tirelessly to bridge the gap between doctors and engineers is resulting in medical technology solutions that improve patient outcomes, enhance monitoring, and protect patient privacy. Dr. Joel Arun Sursas is an effective communicator who facilitates the achievement of team goals.

References

1. Alienor. “What is a Data Silo and Why is It Bad for Your Organization? | Plixer.” Plixer, https://www.plixer.com/blog/data-silo-what-is-it-why-is-it-bad/.

2. Wang, Virgina. “Minding the gap and overlap: a literature review of fragmentation of primary care for chronic dialysis patients | PubMed.gov.” National Library of Medicine | National Center for Biotechnology Information, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28851313/.

3. Kelly, Yvelynne P. “Breaking Down Health Care Silos | Harvard Business Review.” Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/2019/07/breaking-down-health-care-silos.

4. Clough, Brent. “Healthcare Big Data Silos Prevent Delivery of Coordinated Care | Health IT Analytics.” Health IT Analytics | xtelligent Healthcare Media, https://healthitanalytics.com/news/healthcare-big-data-silos-prevent-delivery-of-coordinated-care.

Lakisha Davis

Lakisha Davis is a 20-year-old business studies student who enjoys watching tv shows, stealing candy from babies, and listening to the radio. She is creative and friendly, but can also be very boring and a bit selfish.

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