For Hospitals, Data Hygiene Is Critical To Patient Care

By Sasha Banks-Louie
July 27, 2020

Treating waves of COVID-19 patients has forced many hospitals across the US to schedule fewer high-margin elective procedures, leading to furloughs and financial losses in some cases.

Under these pressures, hospital leaders need accurate data to make good decisions. Whether they’re assessing treatment strategies or rescheduling deferred non-critical care visits, they “need immediate access to all of their patients’ medical records and to be able to analyze them stat,” says Katie Horvath, CEO of Michigan-based data management company Naveego.

But like many elective hip replacements and cosmetic surgeries, a lot of analytics projects have gone on hold, since such projects have a reputation for costing a lot of money and taking a long time. “Because of the huge drop in revenue, hospitals simply can’t afford to spend millions of dollars and wait 18 months for some legacy, master data management software application,” Horvath says.

Naveego’s cloud-based service was built to speed up and improve the accuracy of the data management process. Started in 2012 in Traverse City, Michigan, Naveego’s cloud native data-integration platform is now helping hospitals quickly consolidate multiple electronic medical records and create complete patient profiles—what it refers to as “golden records.” With that clean and trusted data in hand, providers can get to the actual analytics work much more quickly, such as analyzing patients’ medical histories and current health symptoms to inform diagnosis and treatment. 

Using methods encouraged under HIPAA, including encryption, data masking, hashing, and lightweight API connectors, Naveego’s platform, which runs in part on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, ingests data from systems such as the National Practitioner Data Bank, and other third-party databases, containing records from insurance reimbursements, primary care physicians, and outpatient specialists.

Naveego provides its data-cleansing services to more than 16 industries, having started initially in the oil and gas industry and expanding into other sectors such as financial services and healthcare. As more business decisions depend on dashboards, data analytics, and machine learning, Naveego helps make sure that the data companies are using is accurate and complete.

Low-Code Golden Record

In healthcare, hospital administrators log into the Naveego portal and get automatically provisioned to start building their “golden records,” which are sets of data that include various sources of healthcare information matched to individual patients. Naveego’s app then can identify any missing or incomplete fields, and can cleanse records of duplication, inconsistency, or inaccuracy. Once the data is prepared, it is replicated into a hospital’s data lake or warehouse and then brought into its analytics platform.  

By giving hospitals an affordable, “low-code-to-no-code” tool, Horvath says, hospital administrators can quickly prepare the data that they need, and then apply their analytical tools to help answer questions such as how well patients have followed a prescribed treatment plan, and how well those plans have helped the patient. One major US hospital has been using Naveego’s service in its effort to “better determine which treatments are most effective for their patients at handling diseases such as COVID,” Horvath says. 

Naveego originally ran its platform using Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, but as the company grew, and added more production environments, it started moving its development and testing workloads to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

“We immediately saw a 60% savings from using Oracle’s cloud for our internal development and testing environments, and because of Oracle’s multiple availability zones, we’re able to communicate back and forth, both internally, and with our customers without interruption,” Horvath says. “AWS charged us hefty fees for back and forth communications, and those fees quickly became cost-prohibitive for us.”

By keeping its IT budget in check, Horvath says Naveego has been able to expand its research and development programs, developing new services and user experiences for its customers. And Naveego is moving customer-facing production workloads to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure as well, based on its R&D success. 

“Moving all of our R&D environments onto Oracle Cloud Infrastructure has allowed us to introduce more self-service products that let hospital administrators and other non-technical users quickly prepare their enterprise data for real-time analytics,” Horvath says. In the midst of budget cuts, reductions in workforce, and a global pandemic, “we’re talking life and death decision-making here.”