Integrity is in the Details

As I read our guest contributor Dee Donatelli’s piece on the missing link and the criticality of sound evidence-based information, as well as the piece Dan Woods wrote in Forbes, I felt compelled to climb up on my soapbox, again, about integrity. Specifically, integrity in data.

We often comment on how the devil is in the details. True enough, but that statement is defeatist. Respecting this truism and focusing effort on identifying our data devils and correcting them is the right work. There is no panacea. I’m always asked if we have a solution to the “bad data” problem. My answer is yes, but… We have experience to help you identify the problems and tools to help fix the problem once and for all, but there is no single, overarching, turnkey solution. Bad data happens every day and happens as a result of historically bad practices. Change is hard, and the scope of this problem is industry wide. I truly believe that change is afoot via GS1 adoption, but did I mention that change is hard?

There is a motivational saying; “I have to do it myself, and I can’t do it alone.” Well maybe not so motivational. It was used in that context when I was introduced to it. I was climbing telephone poles and jumping off cliffs while facilitating an outward-bound type program. The premise was that you can accomplish profound things (like facing a fear of heights) if you acknowledge and derive confidence in the support of others. Nobody but you can take that step off the cliff, but if you have faith in the zip line and watch a heavier facilitator (me) go first, your confidence is bolstered.

Addressing the data integrity problem is the same. Have faith that your peers are taking respective action with GS1 adoption (such as AHRMM, HTG and SMI) and take your first step. We can share our experiences and provide tools to help manage the transition, but fundamentally, the actions are your to initiate . . . for patients’ sake.

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