Hospital Data Growth: Key Considerations for Healthcare Enterprises


With the ongoing skyrocketing volume of healthcare data and increasing regulatory requirements from the Cures Act, there are key considerations for large healthcare enterprises to take note of in their overall data governance programs. The ABCs of lifecycle data management is just the beginning.

How much data does healthcare create?

Hospitals produce in the petabytes of data every year. With the healthcare industry generating roughly 30 percent of all the world’s data, at a growth rate of 36 percent annually, managing healthcare’s clinical, financial and business records is a big job that is getting bigger. This is especially true when you consider the record retention regulations for this data.

EHRs play a valuable role in healthcare delivery

With the exponential rate of data growth and increased data sharing regulations of the 21st Century Cures Act, it makes sense that the electronic health record (EHR) business is also booming. The EHR market in the United States is anticipated to increase from its $9 billion current state to more than $15.3 billion by 2033. With more than 96 percent of all non-federal acute care hospitals onboard with EHRs today, compared to only 28 percent in 2011, much of the growth will come from EHR replacements and upgrades to better meet regulatory and consumer demands.

The ABCs of healthcare data lifecycle management

The 21st Century Cures Act mandates strict rules for sharing data, accessing patient records, and blocking information. As a result, healthcare providers nationwide are reviewing and adopting long-term data governance plans and determining how to meet current and future requirements for data management.

Three areas of consideration for best practices in lifecycle data management include:

Access to data. Making sure current and historical data is accessible and secure is a priority. This focus aims at improving workflows and supporting better patient care outcomes. With some health systems managing more than 10 EHRs and working with 18 disparate EMR vendors, there is room for consolidation and streamlining with fewer applications to save time and reduce costs.

Consumers are increasingly demanding simplified, centralized access to health information and an easier overall healthcare experience. A recent report noted that 75 percent found technology could minimize struggles during the patient journey, especially in getting test results, asking medical questions and paying medical bills.

Build out of interoperability tools. A recent report from The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) notes that while there is progress toward improved digital solutions,  challenges remain, Those challenges include creating a uniform nationwide network of interoperability across care continuums. While progress has been made with health information exchanges (HIE) at state and local levels,  more work needs to be done to advance network-to-network exchange. The Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) seeks to create a policy and technical infrastructure that builds on the existing progress of the HIEs. Healthcare providers continue to pursue solutions to help improve their interoperability posture.

Compliance requirements. There is a lot to do to keep an organization compliant with data management regulations. A compliance program is a must to create and update the organization’s processes, policies, and procedures so they are in line with federal and state laws. A solid legacy data management program is an important part of an overall compliance effort.

Consolidating historical clinical, business, and financial records

One way to support the ABCs of legacy data management is to consolidate disparate silos of health data contained in legacy EHRs. This can be especially important when mergers and acquisitions (M&A) bring multiple EHR applications into the enterprise that are outside of the go-forward solutions.

In one case study, a healthcare system client absorbed 83 physician practices and four hospitals, each with their own clinical and financial systems. With a total of seven acute-care hospitals and nearly 500 locations overall, the decision was made to utilize Epic® across the entire enterprise and to archive the other legacy systems using the active HealthData Archiver®. The project included 182 TB of legacy data with a cost savings of $2 million (and counting), plus workflow efficiencies and improved cybersecurity.

Managing the lifecycle of health data involves an evolving portfolio of systems and applications. Over time, some systems and applications are kept up and running to meet access and retention requirements, but can cost an organization a 15 percent increase every year in maintenance alone. If this is happening, streamlining the IT portfolio is a necessary step.

Managing enterprise data for the long haul

Cost and security issues are driving reasons why CIOs report their healthcare enterprises are rationalizing IT portfolios and becoming better prepared for the future.

To hear more perspectives from healthcare IT experts, check out the webinar: Enterprise System Decommissioning and the Complexities of Managing Down the Portfolio.

Is your organization working on application portfolio management with a focus on reducing bloat, costs and improving lifecycle data management for the future?

Our team is ready to help with a broad range of application rationalization experience.

We have worked with more than 550 unique clinical, financial, and administrative brands and have been rated the number one data extraction, migration and archival healthcare IT company nationwide for four years running.

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Aug 21 2023

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