Survey: Healthcare Execs See Poor ROI from EHRs but Optimistic about Analytics | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Survey: Healthcare Execs See Poor ROI from EHRs but Optimistic about Analytics

September 14, 2017
by Heather Landi
| Reprints
Click To View Gallery

The billions in taxpayer dollars spent on electronic health records (EHRs) since 2009 have unfortunately generated a poor return for the nation’s healthcare system, according to a survey of more than 1,100 healthcare professionals conducted by Salt Lake City-based data analytics vendor Health Catalyst.

Health Catalyst polled healthcare professionals attending the fourth annual Healthcare Analytics Summit September 12-14 in Salt Lake City.

When asked to assess the “return on digital investment” produced by the billions of dollars invested in implementing EHRs since the 2009 federal stimulus program, 61 percent of respondents to the online survey answered either “terrible” (19 percent) or “poor” (42 percent). Another 29 percent said the ROI from EHR investments has been “mediocre.” Only 10 percent rated the ROI from EHRs as either “positive” (9 percent) or “superb” (1 percent).

By contrast, 83 percent of respondents rated analytics as “extremely important” to “the future of healthcare and population health.” Fourteen percent of respondents said analytics is “very important,” while 3 percent rated it “moderately important.” No respondents rated the technology as either “somewhat important” or “not important.”

The divergent views of the two technologies likely reflects the industry’s abrupt shift away from data collection and toward data analysis as healthcare transitions from fee-for-service to value-based reimbursement.

The survey results also indicate that, despite their enthusiasm for analytics, most survey respondents work for organizations that have yet to make full use of the technology’s capabilities. When asked to compare their organizations’ use of analytics with a 4-level scale of analytics sophistication, half (50 percent) of respondents ranked their organization’s use of analytics as “artisanal,” at the bottom of the scale. 

According to the model, developed by author and HAS17 keynote Tom Davenport, the four levels or analytics adoption are: Artisanal Analytics – the most basic level, consisting mainly of data integration and curation; Big Data – analytics 2.0, enabling experimentation, open source coding and visual analytics; The Data Economy – analytics incorporating machine learning, agile methods and change management; Cognitive Analytics – enabling natural language process, event stream processing, work design and neural networks or deep learning.

The survey found that respondents generally aligned with levels 1, 2 or 3 on the scale, with 26 percent assigning “Big Data” standing to their organizations, and 17 percent selecting “data economy” analytics. Only a handful of survey takers (5 percent) rated their organizations as having achieved the most advanced form of analytics, “cognitive analytics.”

While most healthcare organizations may be early in their adoption of analytics, survey takers overall were optimistic about the technology. Seventy-six percent of respondents said they were either “optimistic” (35 percent) about the potential of analytics, or rated themselves as “advocates” (41 percent) who want to “help lead the change and a make a difference.”

Fewer respondents said they were in a “wait and see” mode (9 percent), or “worried” about other priorities getting in the way of analytics success. Just four percent of survey takers said they were “skeptical” about making analytics work as promised.



Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More



Advocate Aurora Health, Foxconn Plan Employee Wellness, “Smart City,” and Precision Medicine Collaboration

Wisconsin-based Advocate Aurora Health is partnering with Foxconn Health Technology Business Group, a Taiwanese company, to develop new technology-driven healthcare services and tools.

Healthcare Data Breach Costs Remain Highest at $408 Per Record

The cost of a data breach for healthcare organizations continues to rise, from $380 per record last year to $408 per record this year, as the healthcare industry also continues to incur the highest cost for data breaches compared to any other industry, according to a new study from IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute.

Morris Leaves ONC to Lead VA Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization

Genevieve Morris, who has been detailed to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from her position as the principal deputy national coordinator for the Department of Health and Human Services, will move over full time to lead the newly establishment VA Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization.

Cedars-Sinai Accelerator Program Presents Fourth Class of Startups

The Cedars-Sinai Accelerator, a program that helps entrepreneurs bring their innovative technology products to market, has brought in nine more health tech startups as part of its fourth class.

DirectTrust Adds Five Board Members

DirectTrust, a nonprofit organization that support health information exchange, announced the appointment of five new executives to its board of directors.

Analysis: Many States Continue to Have Restrictive Telemedicine Policies

State Medicaid programs are evolving to accelerate the adoption of telemedicine models, this evolution is occurring more quickly in some states than others, according to a recent analysis by Manatt Health.