New HealthLeaders Media Survey: Greater Risk, Patient Volume Driving Surge in Healthcare Analytics Use

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A new independent HealthLeaders Media report, IT and the Analytics Advantage: Managing Data to Master Risk, sponsored by EMC, reveals why extending into complex data sets and higher-order analytics is a strategic imperative—and how healthcare providers can pick a path to make it work. The report includes data from a survey of the 8,000-member executive research panel, the HealthLeaders Media Council.

"To care for populations with similar diseases requires us to be fluent in the best evidence-based medicine,” says Bill Bunting, director of healthcare solutions for EMC.

As the healthcare industry evolves for value-based care, information technology must follow suite. Organizations are challenged to integrate clinical and financial data to support risk management and population health, while creating a case for their performance that can be used to bolster reimbursement.

A new independent HealthLeaders Media report, IT and the Analytics Advantage: Managing Data to Master Risk, sponsored by EMC, reveals why extending into complex data sets and higher-order analytics is a strategic imperative—and how healthcare providers can pick a path to make it work. The report includes data from a survey of the 8,000-member executive research panel, the HealthLeaders Media Council. The free version can be downloaded at http://www.healthleadersmedia.com/intelligence.

The survey reveals that there is a big difference between the way that organizations apply analytics now and the way they will in the near future. Healthcare IT will move beyond siloed transactional systems for retrospective analysis toward more quantitative toolkits that use data to draw predictive and relational conclusions.

“The analytics work that we will do in the future will require deeper competencies and be at a different level of discovery than today’s work,” says George T. Hickman, FCHIME, LCHIME, LFHIMSS, CPHIMS, CHCIO, executive vice president and chief information officer of Albany Medical Center.

One of the top clinical applications of analytics is to improve quality, outweighing analytics for the purpose of risk stratification and population health. Still, in three years, the percentage of organizations using analytics to assess population health needs is expected to jump 31% to include nearly 80% of all health systems, underscoring the emerging importance of population management under value-based care.

“To care for populations with similar diseases requires us to be fluent in the best evidence-based medicine,” says Bill Bunting, director of healthcare solutions for EMC. “We must understand the progress of patient groups with the same conditions, just as we must understand the prevalent health needs of our patient base.”

There are several key types of patient-related data that healthcare systems expect to draw on for analytics activity. In the top three are clinical data from EHR (95%), patient demographics (91%), and aggregated EHR and patient claims data (85%). But even as dependence on EHR data remains strong, Hickman suggests that the context will start to shift.

“At this point, electronic health records should start feeling like transaction systems, not necessarily at the center of the universe where we often put them,” he says. “If you really want to focus on population
health, you have to have a healthy electronic health system environment supporting that effort. So let’s focus on all the other systems and solutions we’re going to need to be building for the future.”

The path to this future will certainly be rife with challenges. Among the top data-related challenges identified by healthcare leaders, integrating clinical and business data, establishing/improving EHR interoperability, and improving data accuracy are among the top.

Other compelling statistics from the report include:

  • 78% of healthcare leaders will be using analytics to assess population health needs within three years (vs. 47% currently).
  • 62% expect to be using analytics to assess care partners’ efficiency and quality within three years.
  • Data integration (63%), interoperability (47%), and data accuracy (40%) are the top data-related analytics challenges.
  • 75% expect to begin or increase investments in improving the quality of data in the next year.
  • 52% cite overcoming insufficient skills in analytics as a top tactical challenge.

About HealthLeaders Media
HealthLeaders Media, a division of BLR, is a leading multi-platform media company dedicated to meeting the business information needs of healthcare executives and professionals. As an integrated media company, HealthLeaders Media includes HealthLeaders magazine, HealthLeadersMedia.com, the HealthLeaders Media Intelligence Unit, HealthLeaders Media LIVE events, and California HealthFax. All these platforms may be found online at http://www.healthleadersmedia.com.

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