When the question is asked “should we archive our medical data records?” one could simply say “Of course you should. After all, it is your data”. Then stand by and expect providers and hospitals to line up for data archiving services. However, let’s don’t be too hasty.
True, there are many benefits from archiving medical records whether they are static records that are needed for long term reference or patient active records that are needed in ongoing patient services. Either way it is important to remember that potential risk accompanies potential gain.
When new technology is being considered it is especially important to evaluate the risks. It has always been true that our technology potential exceeds our proven, time-tested skill to exploit that potential. Among the benefits of new technology are increased processing speed and ease of access. So mistakes can be made faster and more people will be given opportunities to make them.
Specifically consider the Cloud for storage of archived records. There is still much discussion about long term security of data held in the Cloud. We have a well documented track record for implementing and maintaining security on host servers. What that really means is that we have a greater understanding of the risks associated with storing data on host servers than we do for storing data in the Cloud. Which storage method will prove to be the better choice remains to be seen.
Every archiving project begins with a data conversion. Extracting medical records and then converting them to a format compatible with the data archive structure.
With IoT, more services are becoming available faster than we can reasonably adopt them. That is not a reason for avoiding Medical IoT services but a warning. Providers should do their homework, make a plan with measurable steps for determining progress and proceed when satisfied with the plan and it’s identified risks.
Most importantly, the safe storage and ease of retrieval for all your current medical record data, needs to be implemented. Do this before MIoT begins adding huge volumes of data to your existing library.
A personal example: Recently my daughter was given a fifteen page printed document with detailed information recommending changes to her diet relative to her long bout with kidney stones. The document could easily have been delivered electronically. Learning of this experience and reading about the Medical Internet of Things, it occurred to me that the medical profession may not yet be in a mode of actively adopting new technology. Considering that she is being treated at a prestigious teaching university in Texas, which I would expect to be more progressive in adopting new and useful technologies, it is probable that providers not connected with a teaching university may be even more reluctant to take up new tools.
That said, making good use of existing technology may be vital to the successful integration of MIoT.
Choosing to implement data archiving for your medical records would be a prudent step in preparation for new services as they come available via the Medical Internet of Things.