Analytics a top priority for majority of healthcare companies in 2015

February 12, 2015

Two-thirds of organizations will increase spending on analytics in 2015, according to a new survey by CDW Healthcare.

More than two-thirds of healthcare decision makers say analytics is one of their organization’s top three priorities, but adoption levels vary by organization size, according to a new report by CDW healthcare.

CDW surveyed 150 healthcare decision makers to determine where organizations stand in the analytics implementation process, what benefits and challenges exist and how they can plan for the future of analytics. It found that organizations with 201 to 500 beds are leading the way in analytics implementations.

The top motivational factors driving analytics include: The rising cost of healthcare (59%), Medicare/Medicaid EHR incentive programs (44%) and accountable care (41%). Eight-two percent of respondents said analytics improved patient care while 54% of respondents said analytics improved financial reporting capabilities.

Looking forward, healthcare organizations plan to spend an average of $1.9 million on analytics in 2015, with 65% of organizations indicating that they will increase spending in this area. “A strong data infrastructure is critical,” says Jonathan Karl, sales director, CDW Healthcare.

“Our respondents cited investments in data capture, storage and processing capabilities as critical steps to prepare for analytics. We’ve seen some organizations benefit from leveraging healthcare data models from vendors to jump-start their initiatives, while organizations with large data volumes benefit from purpose-built analytics appliances to dramatically reduce processing time, thereby making insights available when they are still relevant to patient care. As such, organizations looking to implement analytics should evaluate their current capabilities and consider which investments work best for their environment.”

More than half of respondents planned to address clinical analytics first, underscoring the fact that analytics implementations doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing ordeal, according to Karl. “Start by looking at scenarios where analytics can provide clear value to your organization, such as patient readmissions or quality reporting, and then pilot the solution,” he says.

“You can then build out more advanced capabilities based upon your proven success.” Healthcare organizations generate enormously large amounts of data from patients, operational systems and more, but many organizations lack the resources to take advantage of that information. “As the nation moves from a fee-for-service to pay-for-performance model and embrace a new era of population health management, analytics can help empower healthcare organizations to deliver enhanced patient care while reducing operating costs,” Karl says.

NEXT: 30-day outcomes improve with analytics

 

In fact, 61% of organizations say their score for 30-day outcomes – the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital Compare Score, encompassing unplanned readmissions and death rates – have improved with analytics, and 81% expect it to improve after full analytics implementation, according to the report. “As healthcare organizations and providers begin to think about their future as part of an ACO, they face a new financial reality and a new set of information requirements,” Karl says.

“One of the top priorities includes expanded capabilities for accurately conducting cost-quality analysis, which enable ACOs to readily calculate, validate and compare costs and outcomes.”

An estimated 20.5 million people are now covered by ACOs, according to a report from Leavitt Partners, making the ability to collect and analyze data absolutely crucial for measuring and comparing patient outcomes as well as costs.

Additionally, organizations are effectively leveraging predictive models to identify patients at risk for readmission so that they can intervene early – 63% of decision makers said that analytics helped reduce readmission rates.

Forty-six percent of respondents also reported reduced costs for care as a result of implementing analytics. Forty-five percent of healthcare decision makers said that combining different kinds of data from different sources is the top challenge for implementing or preparing for analytics, according to the report. This includes the challenge of incorporating unstructured data, which constitutes more than 80% of today’s health data, according to IDC Health Insights.

Managing volumes of data effectively (37%) and interoperability between technologies (36%) came in second and third, respectively. Clinical analytics enable healthcare providers to compile various health influences and deliver smarter patient care, according to Karl. Decision makers identified improved patient care (82%), reduced readmission rates (63%) and better overall health outcomes (62%) as the top clinical benefits.

“Analytics can also be applied to healthcare organizations as a whole, making day-to-day processes more efficient,” Karl says. The top operational benefits included stronger financial reporting capabilities (54%), improved hospital operational performance (50%) and expanded management decision-making capabilities (49%), according to the report.