Data Virtualization- Door to Healthcare’s Next Wave

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Virtualization is one of the crucial technological drivers of this era. It is pervasive in cloud computing and well known in terms of networking, compute, and storage.

We all had seen the days when a diagnosis was more complicated than a cure but now demoted to history. We have passed that phase and are in the modern age where technologies such as cloud, internet-of-things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and virtualization drive healthcare systems. Smart healthcare is not just an idea any longer. It has split out into intelligent monitoring, telemedicine, remote expert advice, online diagnosis, and so much more.

The healthcare industry is undergoing structural transformation sparked by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. Healthcare organizations are planning for the future. They are accepting novel business models, alleviating their revenue streams, and re-focusing on novel strategies to enhance patient care, thus reducing cost.

There will be a time when all of us will be aware of our future illness and will be able to control them with timely amendments in our lifestyles.

Let’s start the roller-coaster ride in the world of healthcare virtualization

The title itself says it all, i.e., data virtualization allows healthcare organizations to better address patient care, data growth, and analytics.

The data center is not the first thing that comes to a hospital administrator’s mind while contemplating how medical care will change in the coming years. The basics of delivering superior care while keeping costs in check depend on a modern data center. AI, digital health, big data analytics, value-based medicine, and healthcare consumerism are the trends that healthcare leaders are grappling with.

Virtualization will allow healthcare providers to securely access their patient’s data on any device from anywhere, making it a primary technology for telemedicine.

“The future of healthcare will be increasingly data-driven,” said Dr. Brandon K Fornwalt, Associate Professor, Director Department of Imaging Science and Innovation.

The digital revolution has changed the healthcare sector’s wave these days by integrating real-time data access to present electronic health record systems and patient portals without relocating or changing the source code. This is termed as data virtualization, and it allows health systems and hospitals to produce more agile information.

Before starting our journey, let’s explore what exactly does data virtualization mean:

Data virtualization software acts as a bridge across diverse and multiple data sources, bringing critical decision-making data together in one virtual place to boost analytics. It offers a modern data layer that allows users to deliver, access, transform, and combine datasets with advanced speed and cost-effectiveness. With data virtualization, individuals get data, which is updated, easy to use, easy to find, and easy to understand.

This innovative data integration technology can merge any sort of data in real-time, with all-encircling data security and governance facilities.

Key benefits of data virtualization in healthcare:

  • Three times lower maintenance and development costs.
  • Up to five times faster access to data for conformity and reporting.
  • Enhanced productivity via a zero-code model-powered environment.

Data virtualization – the future of healthcare

The present hysteria surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the need for efficient data managementin the healthcare industry. When the healthcare system is poor, it is difficult to overcome or manage outbreaks such as COVID-19.

Analytics and business intelligence (BI) play a pivotal role in achieving data access and improving patients’ interactions. By using enhanced technology, the healthcare sector can offer more accurate one-to-one care, prime themselves for Accountable Care Organization (ACO) membership, and produce a complete picture of population health.

Data virtualization might be a solution that allows it all. Data virtualization stitches data from various sources – despite the data source’s location and making it available for each data consumer. The technology can deliver a 360-degree view on patients’ health, including test results, recent hospital visits, drug allergies, and treatment protocol that doctors have suggested, directly to the relevant medical workers.

“Data integration and data virtualization may not be direct remedies for managing virus outbreaks. However, they do help agencies rapidly collate integrated views of time-critical information, allowing decision-makers to be best-equipped to make the most informed decisions under stress,” – as per the report published by INDVSTRVS.

As per the report published by CIO.com, the healthcare industry is growing exponentially in data, i.e., from 500 petabytes (PBs) in 2013 to 25,000 PBs by 2020.

For instance, the Denodo Platform prefers data virtualization to allow a 360-degree view of logical data warehouse architecture. Also, it offers the highest level of security and privacy for managing the data of patients.

Importance of data virtualization for healthcare –

The most important thing is that it enhances operational efficiency, improves care quality, and reduces costs. The following factors will help you better understand the importance of data virtualization in healthcare:

  • Conformity and data governance assistance – to remain HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996)-compliant and protect patient information, data virtualization can help by restructuring and automating various data entitlement measures, which are essential to attain regulatory compliance.
  • Simplified data access – as healthcare organizations expand via mergers and acquisitions or organically, data systems can become more siloed. Thus, unified data access via data virtualization breaks down integration barriers and gives ubiquitous access to critical patient information via a standard interface.
  • Improves care quality – data virtualization ensures real-time access to patient records through mobile devices, EHRs, and portals, thus supporting enhanced patient outcomes.
  • Continued ROI (Return on Investment) of the present infrastructure – as data virtualization allows real-time access to patient’s data effortlessly irrespective of the location or format, thus it extends the life and ROI of existing legacy infrastructure resources.
  • Data storage and cost reduction – data integration solution helps healthcare individuals reduce data storage and warehouse expenses and better manage with limited IT resources.
  • Support of Electronic Healthcare Records (EHRs) and Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) enhances the healthcare system.

Additionally, data virtualization offers greater data accountability and agility and provides the ability to foster further internal collaboration among patients, physicians, staff, and clinicians.

The ongoing digital transformation has created an explosion of data within the healthcare sector. Thus, it is anticipated to reach about 2,314 exabytes in 2020, up from 153 exabytes in 2013. This is based on the adoption of EMRs and EHRs, the expansion of IoT/wearables, and the digitalization of sensor/imaging data.

Few considerations when selecting a data virtualization solution

  • No Coding, eDaaS (enhanced Data as a Service) enablement
  • IT and stakeholder ease of use
  • Mobile access
  • Legacy and open systems connectivity
  • Multi-level enablement
  • Write/read data integration

Moreover, data virtualization offers real-time, single-point access to diverse and multiple data sources such as cloud, third-party, NoSQL, mainframe, and relational.

Sum it up –

This is the right time to move toward the digital healthcare sector by incorporating enhanced technologies such as data virtualization, telemedicine, and others. Data virtualization in the healthcare sector will allow data integration from any location across the globe, be it a physician practice, patient portal, pharmacy, insurance carrier, lab, hospital, or remote monitoring device.

As per Siemens Healthineers, “The move to smart healthcare will change our approach from patient-centric prevention to person-centric prevention. Humankind can only benefit from the two-pronged approach of smart healthcare – tackling human health calamities as they occur and also predicting future events to help formulate a proactive and preventive strategy.”

In the end, we can say, “The makeover of the healthcare systems from Health 1.0 to 4.0 will bring major modifications to the healthcare sector.”

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