Front Office Solutions: Tackling the Data Enrichment Problem in Healthcare

a doctor working healthcare data analytics solutions

Much has changed in the last decade when it comes to the healthcare industry. Adoption of electronic healthcare records is nearly ubiquitous. Privacy protections of personal health information have become increasingly essential. And systems integrations have significantly improved within healthcare enterprises compared to the past. But despite these improvements, many healthcare entities still lack effective healthcare data analytics solutions. To excel in today’s environment, hospitals, offices, and clinics must leverage Big Data in healthcare to their advantage. Failing to do so is a certain recipe for inefficiency and lost profits as well as less-than-optimal patient outcomes. And often, these failures begin with poor front office processes during initial patient encounters.

someone using healthcare data analytics solutions
Healthcare data analytics solutions are a vital ingredient for effective patient care.

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To highlight the importance that Big Data in healthcare, one only needs to examine the recent exponential data growth. Between 2013 and 2020, healthcare data volumes have expanded 1400%. This has been fueled by a variety of shifts related to increasing digital adoption as well as by the recent pandemic. Because of this, practices and organizations with ineffective healthcare data analytics solutions are rapidly falling behind. Fortunately, however, these shortcomings can be resolved with some basic changes to front office practices. But it requires making smart choices and securing quality technology services to get the best results. With such a commitment, opportunities for greater success expands significantly.

Big Data and the Front Office

While there are numerous opportunities for data collection and capture in healthcare, the front office represents the most important. This includes not only clinical data collection but likewise administrative data as well. From a clinical perspective, front offices routinely request demographic and healthcare information from patients during intake. This may be done remotely prior to visits or at the time of arrival. But a wealth of data concerning health insurance, referral sources, preferred modes of contact and more also exist. In this regard, Big Data in healthcare should consider all of these informational sources. And front offices are ideal places for healthcare data analytics solutions to effectively secure and organize such data. By having this captured at the earliest point of contact, opportunities for efficiency and value increase substantially.

These direct opportunities for front offices to collect Big Data in healthcare settings are not the only ones. In fact, front office business processes can greatly expand their scope of data collection well beyond patient contacts. For example, healthcare data analytics solutions today access many other sources of data. This includes health information from other providers and healthcare systems. It also includes patient data from pharmacies, connected medical devices, and sometimes wearable health devices. Notably, such solutions must respect patient privacy and confidentiality, but adequate safeguards can be established. If done well, a front office can create a comprehensive foundation of data before a patient enters the exam room. And this not only sets the tone for subsequent data collection but also an environment where data drives excellence.

A doctor's stethoscope and tablet
Of all the problems facing a healthcare provider’s front office, leveraging patient data is one of the most vital… and most problematic.

Missed Opportunities to Excel

When it comes to missed opportunities for front office data collection, several are common. Given the demands placed on healthcare systems today, it’s not surprising that missteps occur. Many healthcare organizations struggle to find adequate talent, which can place heavy burdens on existing staff. Likewise, many healthcare entities fail to take advantage of patient-directed data collection. Some providers fail to create surveys, questionnaires, and digital patient forms that could enhance data collection. Such pursuits can also alleviate pressure on front office staff while contributing to Big Data in healthcare systems. Finally, front office administrative and billing functions may be segregated from clinical ones. While data may still be collected, this hinders the potential for healthcare data analytics solutions to be used.

In many ways, these front office shortcomings relate to poor business processes and challenges related to staffing. But other front office missteps are also common when it comes to Big Data in healthcare. Specifically, a lack of technology and software integrations plague the healthcare industry as a whole. When this occurs, various data systems fail to communicate well with one another, further hindering analytics. This not only includes EHR systems that remain isolated from administrative ones. But it also includes a failure to connect wearable devices, connected devices, and outside data sources with office data systems. Pursuing healthcare data analytics solutions that facilitate these integrations is essential for modern success. In fact, these are precisely the types of solutions that can increase front office datasets exponentially. And in turn, this drives much-needed efficiency, profitability, and quality care gains.

Effective Front Office Data Solutions

two doctors talking Big Data in healthcare
There tons of Big Data in healthcare–is it being used effectively?

Healthcare is evolving rapidly when it comes to healthcare data analytics solutions. Though the industry lags behind others, there’s no question it’s rapidly catching up. Certainly, improvements are needed when it comes to healthcare systems. Big Data in healthcare represents one major tactic to enhance current operations and drive greater value in practice. More importantly, however, healthcare providers who fail to recognize this need will soon fall behind their colleagues. Data collection and analytics will play an ever-increasing role in quality and profitability. It will also play a major role in future medical research and treatments. But it all starts with front office strategies to maximize data collection. It’s thus essential that providers focus on healthcare data analytics solutions here from the start.

The good news is that such front office solutions are available and accessible for providers. For example, business process solutions focusing on front office operations can greatly boost data capture. Using contact center services, better data content can be accessed and recorded. Likewise, outsourcing some talent needs can free up existing staff to better collect patient data prior to an encounter. And there are a variety of technology solutions such as software development, vendor selection, and analytics systems that can be accessed. These systems better integrate internal and external data systems that boost Big Data in healthcare tremendously. These are the types of strategies healthcare organizations must pursue in modern times to keep pace with industry advances. And with such a robust data collection and analytics system in place, the capacity to excel will increase substantially.


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