Digital Health Data: Advantages, Types, and Limitations

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What is Medical Health Data?

Medical Health data is any data “related to health conditions and quality of life” for an individual or population. Medical data contains information about a person’s health status, all kinds of treatment reports, current and past medical treatment received.
Medical health data records can include General numerical information, such as vital signs like heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature. Diagnostic-related information, like laboratory test results from blood tests, genetic tests, culture results, and so on.
Before the invention of technology, such information was recorded on paper. But there were many disadvantages. To overcome these problems modern technology has helped to record and store the data in digital files and databases.
For example: Wearables like GOQii, Apple, Fit bit, Devices like oximeter, Glucometer, digital blood pressure monitor, First Digital Pulse Diagnostic Device-Nadi Tarangini etc.
All of these devices reveal medical information about a person and allows for his or her identification as per the requirement at any time.

What are the Different types of keeping Health Data records?

Together, they form a complete overview of an individual's health.

  • Clinical Data- This data includes medical history and diagnosis current and past, list of medicines, list of vaccinations the patient has received, lab test results, current and past surgical history.
  • Demographic Data- This includes data such as age, sex, nationality, etc.
  • Psychosocial Data- This data includes psychological health and social status.
  • Lifestyle Data- This includes habits, interests, and hobbies.
  • Genomic Data- This data includes all information of all genes and their interrelationships in order to identify their combined influence on the growth and development.

What are the different Forms of Medical Data available?

Health data are classified as either structured or unstructured.

Structured: Structured health data is standardized and can be easily transferred between various health information systems. For example, a patient’s name, date of birth, or a blood-test result can be recorded in a structured data format.

Unstructured: Unstructured health data, unlike structured data, is not standardized.  Emails, audio recordings, or physician notes about a patient are examples of unstructured health data.  

What are the advantages of Digital Health data over paper-based health data?

Advantages of Digital Health data

Challenges of paper-based health data

The digital medical health data storage requires only a cloud server where the data can be stored and sorted in the required manner.

Paper based data requires larger physical space to store thousands of papers, files, and reports. Maintenance cost was quite high.

Composition and storage of digital forms of medical data is in a standard format. Hence it is easily accessible when required.

This kind of data had different kinds of handwriting for different sections and caused inconvenience to access. 

Digital medical data is available at a click anywhere around the globe, thus convenient for remote consultations.

Paper based data was not portable due to distance and due to weight issues, thus unable to consult remotely. 

In this form of medical data, the percentage of error is very negligible.

Paper based data had a high percentage of error.

Digital medical data gives efficiency to the organization.

Paper based data was a very time-consuming affair.

What are the Limitations of Health data?

Digital medical health data adds value in areas such as digital health records, patient monitoring, and medical devices, thus makes the proper use of time and resources. But this form of data also has its own limitations, and they are: limited technology infrastructure, staff reluctance to learn new things, data illiteracy and concerns about privacy and security.

What are the Ending notes to understanding Digital Health Data?

There are multiple software solutions available in the market to digitalize the medical health records. Management may opt for customized software and also make usage of paper-based data in some sections taking in consideration the limitations and the needs. This type of information can be retrieved, for providing care as well as for further clinical research and development.

Let’s explore and welcome digitalization of the medical health data for our ease and progress!!!

To learn more and to go digital with Nadi Tarangini, visit the Nadi Tarangini home page or contact us at +91 9168616013.

Dr.Shillpa Jamdarkhana and Archana Patil
Shruti Kulkarni and Dr. Tejaswini Bhale

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