Healthcare is one of the last industries where you hear the term MDM (Master Data Management) mentioned. Most IT industry analysts, software firms and consulting organizations are geared towards your typical company that sells products to people or businesses. MDM examples are always getting a master list of products or cleansing your way to a consistent list of customers, which is not exactly the mindset of healthcare organizations. But lack of MDM is precisely what is adding untold costs on healthcare organizations (and ultimately on all of us) and inhibiting these organizations from improving the quality of health care services at an affordable cost.
Let's divide the healthcare industry (simplistically) into insurers and providers (we will position pharmaceuticals, biotechs and medical device companies as life sciences). Many of the large insurers have invested in data warehousing and data integration, but smaller insurers, i.e. regionally based HMOs (healthcare maintenance organizations) and healthcare providers, such as hospitals and physician groups, have fledgling efforts or have been bogged down in many of the issues below.