Nav: Home

Researchers identify healthcare data defects, create software for easier defect detection

May 29, 2020

Researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) have developed a method to investigate the quality of healthcare data using a systematic approach, which is based on creating a taxonomy for data defects thorough literature review and examination of data. Using that taxonomy, the researchers developed software that automatically detects data defects effectively and efficiently.

The research is published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA), and is led by Güne? Koru, FAMIA, professor of information systems, and Yili Zhang, a former graduate student in Koru's lab who is now a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University. The paper stresses that the prevalence of defects in some of the existing healthcare data can be quite high. This must be addressed to better leverage the data to improve the quality of care, reduce costs, and achieve better healthcare outcomes. The team collaborated with an anonymous healthcare organization using real healthcare datasets.

Though many researchers today are involved in the analysis of healthcare data and are invested in its importance, there is very little research being done on the quality of the data being analyzed. Ultimately, this creates a far-reaching problem because important findings from the data may be less meaningful than assumed unless significant effort and money can be invested to deal with data quality problems with ad-hoc methods. For instance, much of the data that Koru's team analyzed contained errors of duplication, mismatched formatting and incorrect syntax.

Identifying these defects in healthcare data is deeply important when it comes to healthcare facilities providing essential services. Koru explains how healthcare facilities use the data collected. Healthcare organizations must "improve upon their services based on that data, and collect more data. If we can keep this cycle going, we can actually learn and improve more quickly, which is the main idea behind the concept of Learning Health Systems, and doing so is all the more important in the COVID-19 era," he says.

In the last decade, healthcare providers in the U.S. made a large leap from keeping patient records on paper to containing all patient information in computerized databases. This jump is significant because of the opportunity it provides for analysis, but researchers are still trying to learn how to effectively leverage the data as an asset.

Koru positions his team's research on data quality as being between the fields that are working to leverage data and the fields that are working to generate it. If the data itself--the bridge that connects the two fields--contains many inconsistencies and problems, then the relevant information cannot be used to provide better outcomes for patients and facilities.

In the future, Koru will continue to work with the partner facility's healthcare professionals to build a path forward. He will collaborate further to improve the quality of data and sustain an operation that bases much of its success on the data that it can gather from health services. His team will work with healthcare administration professionals when the software tools developed through this research are adopted in organizational settings to ensure the usability and usefulness of the tools.

"The taxonomy will help data stewards to identify, understand, and manage potential data quality problems in their future work," says Zhang.

Now more than ever, healthcare facilities are relying on strong data to support patients and the healthcare field as a whole. Koru and Zhang have found that collaborations between data researchers and healthcare organizations can generate effective solutions to the problem of data quality improvement.
-end-


University of Maryland Baltimore County

Related Data Articles:

Data centers use less energy than you think
Using the most detailed model to date of global data center energy use, researchers found that massive efficiency gains by data centers have kept energy use roughly flat over the past decade.
Storing data in music
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a technique for embedding data in music and transmitting it to a smartphone.
Life data economics: calling for new models to assess the value of human data
After the collapse of the blockchain bubble a number of research organisations are developing platforms to enable individual ownership of life data and establish the data valuation and pricing models.
Geoscience data group urges all scientific disciplines to make data open and accessible
Institutions, science funders, data repositories, publishers, researchers and scientific societies from all scientific disciplines must work together to ensure all scientific data are easy to find, access and use, according to a new commentary in Nature by members of the Enabling FAIR Data Steering Committee.
Democratizing data science
MIT researchers are hoping to advance the democratization of data science with a new tool for nonstatisticians that automatically generates models for analyzing raw data.
Getting the most out of atmospheric data analysis
An international team including researchers from Kanazawa University used a new approach to analyze an atmospheric data set spanning 18 years for the investigation of new-particle formation.
Ecologists ask: Should we be more transparent with data?
In a new Ecological Applications article, authors Stephen M. Powers and Stephanie E.
Should you share data of threatened species?
Scientists and conservationists have continually called for location data to be turned off in wildlife photos and publications to help preserve species but new research suggests there could be more to be gained by sharing a rare find, rather than obscuring it, in certain circumstances.
Futuristic data storage
The development of high-density data storage devices requires the highest possible density of elements in an array made up of individual nanomagnets.
Making data matter
The advent of 3-D printing has made it possible to take imaging data and print it into physical representations, but the process of doing so has been prohibitively time-intensive and costly.
More Data News and Data Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Making Amends
What makes a true apology? What does it mean to make amends for past mistakes? This hour, TED speakers explore how repairing the wrongs of the past is the first step toward healing for the future. Guests include historian and preservationist Brent Leggs, law professor Martha Minow, librarian Dawn Wacek, and playwright V (formerly Eve Ensler).
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.