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In a recent MedCity News article, I shared that growing consumer demands for convenience and digital self-service have created opportunities for health systems to accelerate innovation that closes the gap between expectation and reality for people searching for care. And consumer-centered solutions to meet these demands were abundantly displayed by health tech leaders—including Kyruus—earlier this month at the HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, so it’s clear that healthcare consumerism is top-of-mind—and here to stay.

Certainly the pandemic changed the rules for health systems by reprioritizing and compressing their digital access strategies and roadmaps in order to stay connected to the communities they serve. And many health systems rose to the occasion with solutions that empowered consumers to discover, select, and schedule care with greater convenience than ever. Now those same consumers want even more from their health system’s digital front door. If your organization is going to rise to the challenge, a powerful provider data management system is a must. Here are three reasons why investing in the right provider data management system is an investment that’s worth every penny:

1. Data Consistency Builds Consumer Trust

Modern provider data management systems enable health systems to build and maintain an accurate core of data—in essence, a ‘source of truth’ for provider, service, and location information. When this rich, consistent provider data is surfaced across the organization’s access points, it greatly reduces confusion and frustration for consumers seeking care. And that fosters trust in providers and the health system as a whole. Conversely, when consumers encounter inaccurate or inconsistent data, their trust in the health system plummets and it is difficult—maybe even impossible—to restore.

2. A Solid Data Foundation Enables Sustainable Innovation

While it’s tempting to rush to break ground on new channels and resources to meet and exceed consumer expectations, it’s important to make sure the projects on your roadmap are supported by a solid data foundation that can bear the weight of innovation today and in the future. With a robust provider data management system in place—one  that houses, maintains, and makes available accurate, consistent information—health systems can power their existing web properties and mobile apps and explore leveraging their data in other channels such as health plan directories and search engines, so consumers can find care everywhere.

3. Clear Network Insight Facilitates Roadmap Decisions

A powerful provider data management system also gives health systems a clear and complete view of their network of providers, services, and locations. This insight is the fuel marketing, digital innovation, and clinical teams need to brainstorm meaningful consumer experiences that can set the health system apart from competitors. And it helps the organization’s leaders make informed business decisions to determine which projects are the most viable and the most impactful.

The bottom line? A provider data management system is a foundational investment that serves as a backbone for innovative access and experience solutions that delight consumers—but only if the system and the data it houses are thoughtfully developed, easy to maintain, and adaptable to future needs. And for overburdened health systems, it’s a job that’s best left for an experienced technology partner.