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Study: Interoperability remains a challenge in using data, analytics


72% of organizations use more than 10 electronic interfaces to collect data


Implementing data and analytics-no matter how big or small-can be a challenge, therefore having a plan of action is key, according to a survey of chief information officers and executives.

The survey, by eHealth Initiatives (eHI) and the College of Health Information Management Executives (CHIME), assessed how healthcare organizations are using data and analytics. 

"If data is king, an analytics strategy is a kingmaker," says Jennifer Covich Bordenick, Chief Executive Officer of the eHealth Initiative. "Organizations must have a plan to put insights into action, no matter how small or big of a dataset they're working with." 

Key findings included:

  • Healthcare organizations are relying upon increasingly diverse types and sources of electronic data for analytics;

  • Analytics are still in early stages of maturity;

  • Organizations recognize the importance of data and analytics, but many have not committed to its investment or use;

  • New barriers to analytics are emerging beyond staffing, interoperability and cost; and 

  • Consumer engagement is a growing business area.




Survey results showed that analytic capabilities and practices vary significantly across healthcare organizations with 72% of organizations using more than 10 electronic interfaces to collect data. 

Additionally, although 96% of those surveyed said they use analytics, only 20% reported that analytic operations are regularly integrated and coordinated at an institutional level. Furthermore, only 42% responded that a plan has been implemented that can scale and adapt to increasing data demands. 

Bordenick says that integrated analytics are essential to understanding the health, needs and preferences of new patient populations that enter the healthcare system through Medicaid or exchange marketplaces, and that organizations can no longer rely on just one source of information.

"We're just touching the surface of what analytics can truly accomplish in healthcare," she says. "Organizations are starting to break free of siloed analytics and leverage information in exciting ways in the consumer and retail space."



Consumer engagement 

Consumer engagement is becoming an increasingly critical strategy across healthcare. According to Bordenick, eHI research indicates that provider organizations are in the early stages of consumer-focused analytics.

"To date, the majority of providers focus on basic satisfaction measures, while less than a third apply analytics to targeted communication, services or programs to improve patient acquisition and retention," she says. "This suggests a key business service for health insurers to offer as they form partnerships with provider organizations given their longstanding history of working in more of a consumer-focused environment."

The survey also found that 79% of organizations lack a trained staff for collecting, proccessing and analyzing data. Insufficient funding and a lack of return-on-investment have also emerged as barriers to widespread analytics implementation. 



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