Pedal to the Metal: Appliance-Based Master Data Management
Midsize organizations can gain enterprise-scale benefits with hosted master data management appliances
During the past decade, the healthcare and life sciences industries have embraced master data management (MDM) for the standardization and harmonization of business processes, effective data stewardship, and accountable data governance. As a result, large organizations and enterprises in these spaces were able to capture the benefits of MDM and to help quickly deliver real clinical value to their stakeholders. MDM implementations in these areas have led to enhanced patient safety and a complete, 360-degree view of patients, providers, facilities, delivery sites, and organizations.
Large organizations and enterprises were the early adopters of MDM because they tended to have the resources available to deploy, implement, and manage MDM approaches. They are now leveraging their IBM® MDM platforms to manage new core processes including revenue cycle management, advanced clinical analytics, health information exchange integration, order queue management, and provider attribution for accountable care organizations.
As applications of MDM in healthcare and the life sciences mature, midsize organizations are now striving to remain competitive by implementing MDM in their organizations in an effort to capture the same benefits that large enterprises have achieved. However, MDM implementations for midsize organizations can create some specific challenges.
Bringing enterprise-scale MDM to midsize organizations
Many midsize organizations do not have all the IT and clinical resources in-house to effectively manage processes and derive the benefits of an MDM platform. And in today’s changing healthcare landscape, these organizations are very focused on enhancing the efficiency of processes and managing costs.
Chief information officers (CIOs) today face a tough decision when looking at allocating budgets to build an MDM competency in-house or to increase their capacity to serve current client-facing clinical applications. Some have explored the option of having MDM provided in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) or cloud-based offering but with limited success to date. Primary inhibitors for these models have been concerns over the privacy of personal health information, confidentiality of business associate agreements, and the governance and stewardship of patient health data.
An alternative model is needed to help address these concerns while also minimizing the amount of in-house expertise and resources required to effectively manage and exploit the benefits of an MDM platform. And many are finding that alternative in an MDM appliance model.
Deploying a holistic, organizational black box
An MDM appliance offers a pre-configured platform that includes all of the necessary software, hardware, and application support to enable midsize organizations to get an MDM implementation quickly up and running. While this appliance can be located in the data centers of organizations, they can view it as a black box in which ongoing configuration, management, and reporting occurs remotely by the organization hosting the appliance. A simplified procurement process puts all the necessary software, hardware, services, and support components under one contract in a pre-configured offering.
Organizations can work with an established MDM provider—such as InfoMagnetics Technologies Corporation (IMT), an IBM Premier Business Partner that specializes in identity solutions—to help ensure the success of the appliance model (see the sidebar, “Seasoned Implementation and Best Practices”). MDM vendors that offer an appliance-based model enable midsize organizations to capitalize on the deep knowledge base and best practices vendors have acquired for business processes, data management, and governance built into the initial configuration and sizing of the appliance.
An appliance model also helps simplify the requirements for internal IT and business staff. Organizations can demonstrate real value gains quickly—typically in less than three months—with a solution that can address a significant number of their MDM requirements. Personal health information and business associate agreements can be much easier to manage than in traditional MDM deployments because the appliances are owned by the organizations but managed and run by vendors through contract-based support and application management services.
Additional services can be bundled with the appliance provider to enable organizations to see the benefits and performance of their MDM investment. For example, analytics can be run each month, and the appliance service provider can generate reports that show the client organization changes in key metrics such as duplicates, overlays, linkages, and multiple identifiers. Skilled business analysts in the service provider organization can sit down each month with client organizations to review the analytics, examine root causes for changes to the metrics, and make recommendations on potential actions to take going forward.
Seasoned Implementation and Best Practices
Advancing flexible MDM approaches
The appliance model is highly extensible and reusable. It provides a path to preserve existing investments as organizations grow. Software licenses can be extended and hardware can be scaled both horizontally and vertically. Advanced configurations and accelerators can be added to appliances as organizations begin to understand where they wish to leverage and expand investments in MDM.
MDM appliances are designed to provide a simple, straightforward procurement process, deliver real clinical value fast using a configuration based on industry best practices, and minimize budgeting and requirements to build a new capability for organizations. And these appliances help preserve investment as the organization grows and matures in its use of MDM to capture actual benefits.
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