Structured Health Data vs Unstructured Health Data

February 12, 2014 by

What is structured or digitized health data?

This is one of the most common questions we hear at Zweena Health. Most healthcare consumers think that anything stored in a computer or digital fashion is considered ‘structured’ or ‘digitized’ health information, which quite honestly couldn’t be farther from the truth!

To help answer this question, we filmed a quick 90 second video that defines the difference between structure health data and unstructured data. Additionally, we’ve transcribed this video as well if you’d prefer to read through the differences.

Structured Health Data Defined

Video Transcription

We are surrounded by data on a daily basis; in raw format, this data is represented by 1’s and 0’s.

Health data is no different. Hi, I’m Kerry and I’m going to compare the difference between structured health data to unstructured data.

This is your health information in a structured format. What does structured mean?

Structured data is programmed to allow consumers to easily spot trends in their vital health statistics: lab results, blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and more! Imagine a line graph that you create in Microsoft Excel; this graph easily allows you to notice dips and spikes in certain bits of information.

Structured data is many things, but it is not a static PDF or of your health information from you doctors.

Structured data is entered and coded by a registered health data professional that has the ability to input the data in a way that makes it easy for you to view, share and access.

Now imagine you don’t have that easy ability to notice trends. Welcome to unstructured data, usually represented by static pages of health information on your computer.

This information is static; you cannot touch it or chart it into any easy, actionable insights.

With unstructured health data, you’d have to open every single doctors note for the past few visits and take notes of your blood sugar level, for example, and then look back at the trends of all these notes to understand if you were getting healthier or not visit over visit.

Structured health data makes the medical world go ‘round!

In addition to the patient example earlier, structured data also enables:

  1. Enable health information exchanges, made more popular by the Affordable Care Act
  2. Correlate population health trends
  3. Standardize how providers and patients share health information across different doctors, caregiving groups and health systems
  4. Have any questions about structured health data? Ask them in the comments!

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Founder of ZweenaJohn Phelan | Founder & CEO

With over 17 years of healthcare and pharmaceutical experience, John is the vision behind Zweena. He left the pharmaceutical industry to embark on a great opportunity to help shape and influence the developing consumer healthcare movement.

John currently resides in Princeton, NJ with his wife and four children.

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