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Survey: 77% of Healthcare Organizations Use Analytics Software

September 4, 2012
by Jennifer Prestigiacomo
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Most hospitals still doing retrospective analytics despite lack of standardized data across systems

Seventy-seven percent of surveyed CIOs said that their healthcare organizations are using data analytics software, according to a joint survey published last week by the Chicago-based College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and the Washington, D.C.-based eHealth Initiative. The survey was based on 90 CIO responses, with 73 percent of respondents working at organizations that reported annual revenues of more than $10 million.

What was consistent across respondents (93 percent) was the fact that data and analytics were “very important” to the future of their organization; however, only 28 percent of organizations have what it takes to meet analytics requirements. “So we’ve got a huge disconnect there,” says Jennifer Covich Bordenick, CEO, eHealth Initiative. “We’ve got 93 percent of people who think this is important and only 28 percent who feel they can do this. It’s definitely a big challenge for us out there.”

Some of the challenges mentioned for using analytics were lack of standardized data across systems, lack of a system infrastructure to support analytics, and the cost of analytic software.

“The No. 1 takeaway from this survey is that if we skip being aligned on what we are going to measure, it makes it virtually impossible from an IT infrastructure and data analytics to be successful to drive measurable performance improvement,” says Evon Holladay, vice president, business intelligence, Catholic Health Initiatives, the 76-hospital health system based in Englewood, Colo. “And the way we’ve addressed that is through governance; it’s an information management/information oversight council governance structure.”

What was also striking about the survey results was the difference between what respondents thought were the most important uses of data and the reported actual uses of analytics. Clinician utilization and outcomes was reported by 30 percent of respondents as being the most important use of data, followed by clinical excellence initiatives (21 percent) and financial management (13 percent). However, when it came to actual reported uses, financial management was the No. 1 use, which was reported by 92 percent of respondents, followed by operation efficiency (87 percent), and hospital reporting on national quality measures (87 percent).

Fifty-four percent of respondents said their organizations were participating in a health information exchange (HIE). “Data exchange is really critical to this, and health information exchanges are looking to do data and analytics,” says Covich Bordenick. “We were pleased to see that 54 percent of the CIOs actually said they were a part of an HIE, which of course means that half are not, which we hope will change in the future because it could have a very big impact on the success of data and analytics.”

“I think we’re collecting [the right data], but I think it’s that chaining it together through a master patient index (MPI) that I think is going to actually help us manage care differently and help us inform managing the care in the right care setting,” says Holladay. “It’s the integration of the episode into the continuum and even getting long-term care and home care out of our traditional acute and ambulatory settings, and that’s really what a master patient index will be able to help us get to.”

Fifty-eight percent of CIOs surveyed reported that a majority of analytics resources were directed toward retrospective analytics, followed by 17 percent who said they were directed toward real-time decision support. The top three actively exchanged data points were lab results, demographics, and discharge summaries, which was similar to other surveys eHealth Initiative has done, says Covich.

Of those organizations that were using analytics software, the primary analytic functions included ad-hoc queries (88 percent), data mining (66 percent), and data warehousing (57 percent). Some of the most common data and analytics vendors that were used by survey respondents included Allscripts, Cerner, eClinicalWorks, Epic, McKesson, Meditech, and Siemens.