What is a data warehouse?

What is a data warehouse? - Paubox

Choosing the right vendor to store and manage data is a challenging task, especially for healthcare providers that need to consider HIPAA security rules. Let’s discuss if data warehouses are a viable option for healthcare organizations.

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What is a data warehouse in simple terms?

A data warehouse is a core component of business intelligence. It gathers data and is designed for queries and data analytics. This allows businesses to glean meaningful insights from the data it collects.

It has a tiered structure that enables faster query speed for commonly accessed data. Data warehouses are usually stored in 3 levels: The bottom tier is the database servers, the middle tier accesses and analyzes data, and the top tier presents analysis results.

Some of the key aspects of a data warehouse include:

  • Can be either schema-on-read or schema-on-write
  • Contains relational data from transactional systems, operational databases, and business applications
  • Has highly curated data instead of raw data

What are the benefits of using a data warehouse?

The main benefit of using a data warehouse is that businesses can create a data-driven culture and make informed decisions based on data and not necessarily their gut feeling.

Data warehouses are a source of historical data, which makes it a great place for analysts to determine the mistakes and correct choices of the past. 

A well-structured data warehouse is capable of providing the fastest query results and spotting trends and changes in data over time.

Choose a HIPAA compliant data management solution

Data warehouses can have huge potential for healthcare professionals. It can store data from multiple sources, including EMR, claims, accounting, and more. This can help organizations with clinical analytics or financial forecasting.

However, healthcare professionals should take the time to ensure they are using HIPAA compliant data management solutions. Since data warehouses can potentially store protected health information (PHI), covered entities need to ensure that the proper safeguards are in place to protect sensitive patient data.

Healthcare professionals need to ensure they sign a business associate agreement (BAA) with their data management provider. The BAA confirms that a business associate is taking the security measures necessary to protect PHI. 

For example, take a look at Amazon Redshift. Covered entities need to confirm that it is HIPAA compliant and will sign a BAA. Amazon will participate in a BAA for Redshift, which makes it possible to be a HIPAA compliant vendor.

Without a BAA, no third-party vendor can be considered HIPAA compliant. So take the time to ensure that you are following all HIPAA security requirements when choosing a data warehouse vendor.

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Sara Nguyen

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