healthcare IT showing benefit of emr system and data structure

Structured data is a crucial part of any EMR system, as it helps to keep patient data organized and easily accessible. Structured data is formatted in a specific way, such as in a table, with information organized in columns and rows. This makes it easier for healthcare professionals to access and understand information quickly. For example, a patient‘s medical history can be stored in a structured data format to retrieve it when needed quickly. In addition, structured data can be used to track changes in a patient‘s condition or treatment over time, which can help healthcare professionals to make informed decisions about the patient‘s care and easily create reports.

What is Structured Data?

Structured data is any data that is organized logically and systematically. This type of data is typically stored in a database, which allows it to be easily accessed and manipulated by a computer program or user. Structured data commonly stores essential information such as patient demographics, diagnosis codes, lab results, and other vital information. Structured data is a great way to keep track of important information, as it can be quickly accessed, searched, and organized to make it easier to understand and analyze. Structured data can also be used to make data-driven decisions, as it can provide valuable insights into patterns and trends in the data.

How Structured Data Enhances Clinical Decision-Making

As a healthcare professional, you know that making sound clinical decisions is pivotal in ensuring the best possible outcomes for your patients. This is where structured data in Electronic Medical Records (EMR) comes to the fore. But how does it enhance clinical decision-making? Let’s delve into that.

Firstly, structured data in your EMR refers to the specific, organized information you capture about your patients. This can include precisely-coded details such as diagnoses, allergies, treatments, lab results, and vital signs. Unlike unstructured data, which is often text-heavy and difficult to analyze, structured data is in a format that’s easy to search, sort, and understand at a glance.

One of the most significant advantages of structured data in your EMR is its capacity for reducing human error. With structured data, critical patient information isn’t buried in lengthy doctor’s notes or scattered across different systems; instead, it’s readily available in an easy-to-access format.

It’s also worth considering how structured data facilitates more streamlined, faster decision-making. Research from an NCBI study suggests that structured EMR data helps reduce the risk of errors in decision-making by 57%. This is because structured data is readily accessible, reducing the time you take to pull together critical data.

Role of Structured Data in Healthcare Analytics

The role of structured data in healthcare analytics is genuinely transformative. As a healthcare professional, you’re at the very heart of this unfolding revolution.

At its core, structured data is information recorded in a prespecified and organized manner in your electronic medical records (EMRs). This can include categories like patient demographics, diagnoses, clinical measures, and treatment pathways.

Now, why does that matter in healthcare analytics? Simplified, structured data makes your life easier by turning raw, complicated descriptions into neat, organized pieces that can be easily analyzed. You can consider it the difference between a neatly sorted file cabinet and a messy pile of papers.

But the benefits extend far beyond ‘neatness’. Perhaps one of the most profound impacts of structured data is on predictive analytics. When data is structured, systems can more easily identify correlations, trends, and patterns within the mass of information your EMR holds. This means an invaluable ability to predict outcomes, track disease trends, manage population health, and create effective treatment plans faster.

With structured data, the process of analytics becomes streamlined. Instead of spending hours interpreting handwritten notes or trying to make sense of varied terminologies, you can quickly generate insights thanks to the consistent format of structured data.

Healthcare professionals leveraging structured data could reduce the time spent on data preparation by up to 40%. Imagine what you could do with that freed-up time – perhaps more patient interaction or progressing your professional growth.

Structured data also bolsters the accuracy of healthcare analytics. Misinterpretation of data can lead to potentially deadly medical errors. Structured data minimizes this risk, ensuring you make the most informed decisions for your patient’s treatment.

Structured data stands head and shoulders above unstructured data regarding ongoing monitoring and management of chronic conditions. It lets you quickly pinpoint abnormalities in test results, spot real-time changes in patient’s conditions, and effectively predict potential health risks.

Case Studies: Successful Utilization of Structured Data in EMR

Let’s dive into some real-world instances that spotlight the successful utilization of structured data in Electronic Medical Records (EMRs).

First up is a compelling case from the Cleveland Clinic. They leveraged structured data to predict patient no-shows using EMR data. The clinic’s health analytics team built a model that predicted patient no-shows with 75% accuracy by analyzing structured data sets like appointment history, demographic info, and diagnosis codes. Using structured data ensured better scheduling, reducing wasted slots and costs.

Next, visit the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). The medical center harnessed structured data in its EMRs to create a predictive model for patients at risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). To create the model, they used structured data such as patient demographics, encounters, diagnostics, procedures, and medication data. The result? A whopping 78% accuracy rate in identifying COPD high-risk individuals.

Our next successful implementation is from the Geisinger Health System. They used structured EMR data in genomic research. With structured data for patients’ electronic phenotypes and genomic sequencing data, they coded genetic testing results, leading to a significant step forward in precision medicine. This model, powered by structured data from EMRs, made actionable genetic data readily available to clinicians at the point of care, thereby improving patient outcomes.

Our final case study comes from the Mayo Clinic. It successfully utilized structured data from EMRs to predict readmissions in congestive heart failure patients. A comprehensive dataset, including demographics, laboratory results, medication, and comorbidities, was used in the model. The structured data analytics successfully predicted patient readmission with an accuracy of about 67%.

Benefits of Using Structured Data with EMR Systems

Using structured data with EMR systems can be incredibly beneficial. It allows medical professionals to find and update patient information much more efficiently, ultimately leading to better quality care. Structured data also helps to guarantee accuracy, minimizing the likelihood of mistakes and ensuring that patient records remain accurate and up-to-date. As a result, medical professionals can have complete confidence in the patient data they access.

Extract Data from EMR

Extracting data from EMR is collecting information from a patient’s medical records, including their health history, medical test results, treatments, etc. This data can be used for research and analysis to improve patient care and outcomes. It can also be used to provide healthcare providers with insights into the health of their patients and to identify trends and patterns in their care.

Future Prospects of Structured Data in EMR Development

When discussing the future prospects of structured data in EMR development, it’s essential to embrace its potential to transform the healthcare landscape. Let’s shine a light on some of these exciting prospects.

Artificial Intelligence is revolutionizing all aspects of healthcare, and the EMR segment isn’t left behind. Structured data, inherently primed for machine learning algorithms, will form the backbone of AI-driven EMR applications. Think of AI integrated into your EMR, helping identify patterns faster, predict disease outbreaks, or recommend personalized treatment plans based on the structured data within.

Then comes the prospect of more seamless health information exchanges (HIE). The interoperability hurdles faced today hold back the true potential of shared health data. But the future holds promise, thanks to the increased use of structured data in EMR development. Not only will it make data exchange more efficient, but it’ll also enhance the quality of care you can provide across the healthcare continuum.

The power of structured data in EMRs for population health management can’t be overstated. As healthcare continues its shift towards prevention and overall population health, structured data will play a pivotal role.


Structured data is an essential part of any EMR system. It helps to ensure that patient data is organized and easily accessible while also reducing the time it takes to find and update important information. Furthermore, it also helps to ensure accuracy, reducing the chance of errors and ensuring that patient records remain reliable and up to date. For these reasons, using structured data with EMR systems is highly beneficial and should be considered when setting up a new healthcare system.

Published On: October 15th, 2023Categories: Healthcare EMR Software

About the Author: Mousa Kadaei

Moses is a writer and content creator with a deep passion for the intersection of healthcare and technology. His work reflects a keen interest in how technological advancements can transform and improve the healthcare sector. As the content manager at Ambula, a leading provider of EMR software and comprehensive healthcare technology solutions, Moses leverages his extensive knowledge and experience to craft compelling and informative content that resonates with both healthcare professionals and technology enthusiasts.

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