Analytics Investment Among Health Care Organizations Grows

While the majority of health care organizations are planning for or implementing analytics, survey results indicate smaller organizations are lagging behind.

health care

More than two-thirds of health care decision-makers say analytics is one of their organization's top three priorities, according to a report from CDW.

The top motivational factors driving analytics include the rising cost of health care (59 percent), Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive programs (44 percent) and accountable care (41 percent).

While the majority of health care organizations (67 percent) said they are planning for or are implementing analytics, survey results also indicated smaller organizations are lagging behind.

Asked what types of analytics the organization addressed or planned to address first, 57 percent said clinical data analytics, 49 percent said outcome analytics, 46 percent named operational performance analytics, and 43 percent said financial analytics.

Overall, 65 percent of health care organizations say their analytics spending will increase in 2015, and the average organization plans to spend $1.9 million on analytics in 2015.

The survey indicated organizations are experiencing clinical benefits such as improved patient care (82 percent) and operational benefits such as improved financial reporting capabilities (54 percent).

"We see endpoint virtualization and application virtualization gaining momentum, as organizations feel more comfortable storing data locally and delivering it virtually," Chris Haupt, mobility solutions architect for CDW Healthcare, told eWEEK. "There are also emerging software solutions that are helping organizations merge various medical systems to solve interoperability issues."

Cloud computing also simplifies organizational data challenges through secure platforms that promote collaboration and data sharing, Haupt noted.

When asked what steps their organization had taken to prepare for and use analytics, 57 percent of survey respondents said they invested in data capture, 53 percent invested in data storage, 53 percent invested in data processing, 51 percent educated senior managers and 51 percent hired IT professionals.

Organizations implementing analytics are experiencing benefits across the board, although they are experiencing more clinical benefits than operational benefits to date—82 percent cited improved patient care as a top clinical benefit, according to the survey.

Based on those who are implementing or already benefiting from analytics, 61 percent of organizations said their score for 30-day outcomes has improved with analytics and 81 percent said they expect it to improve after full analytics implementation.

Top analytics challenges are combining data, managing data volumes and ensuring interoperability, with 45 percent saying the biggest challenge is combining different kinds of data from different sources, followed by managing volumes of data effectively (37 percent).

Haupt said the industry is going to see more health care organizations enable mobile devices for work-related purposes—a recent Ponemon Institute study estimates that insufficient communication during critical clinical workflows can cost the average hospital $1.75 million annually.

"As such, we are starting to see changes in health care communication, as health care organizations embrace solutions that provide secure messaging and WiFi calling between the care teams to support improved patient care," he said. "We have seen numerous infrastructure overhauls within the recent year, which should open up budgets so organizations can purchase the necessary components for mobility upgrades and implementations."