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Analytics Rank as Top IT Priority, Health System Execs Say

September 12, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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A new survey of senior IT executives at some of the nation's largest health systems reveals that their top priority for IT infrastructure investment is analytics.

Health Catalyst, a Salt Lake City, Utah-based data warehousing and analytics company, surveyed members of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), all of whom are CIOs or other senior IT executives of healthcare organizations.  Survey respondents provided a high-level view of the many competing priorities for IT investment that hospital leaders face in the era of value-based care.

Most experts agree that value-based care will require hospitals to use sophisticated analytics to comb through terabytes of clinical and financial data to reveal actionable opportunities for improving quality and efficiency.

The survey's findings confirm that view, with 54 percent of respondents rating analytics as their highest IT priority, followed by investments in population health initiatives (42 percent), ICD-10 (30 percent), accountable care/shared risk initiatives (29 percent), and consolidation-related investments (11 percent).

When asked to rate the importance of healthcare trends accelerating the adoption of analytics, survey takers ranked population health management highest at 84 percent, followed by quality improvement (79 percent) and accountable care (68 percent). Other important initiatives ranked by survey takers included the need for cost reduction (63 percent), for a "single version of the truth" (59 percent), for better reporting (54 percent), and for research (17 percent).

Additionally, more than 90 percent of respondents said analytics will be "extremely important" or "very important" to their organization within the next one-three years, when a combination of government standards and market pressures will force many of these issues to the forefront.

When asked to rank the biggest obstacles to their adoption of analytics, survey takers ranked highest a lack of analytics expertise and resources to adopt the technology. The next biggest obstacle to analytics adoption was the large number of other IT priorities facing healthcare IT executives.

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