Health Care’s Analytics Disconnect

    A recent survey found that 73 percent of health care organizations are using data analytics software. And a full 93 percent say data and analytics are “very important” to their organizations.

    That’s nice, right? Health care should use data analytics software.

    And now for the punch line: Only 28 percent of the CIOs say their organizations “have what it takes to meet analytics requirements,” according to this Healthcare Informatics piece.

    Insert dope slap here.

    I’ll grant you, the survey didn’t receive a huge response: 90 CIOs responded to the joint query by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives and eHealth Initiative. But they’re a pretty darn important group — 73 percent of them hail from places that generate more than $10 million in annual revenue.

    What’s the problem with their analytics readiness? A lack of standardized data across systems — a predictable response, given the issues health care has with legacy EHR systems — a lack of system infrastructure to support analytics and the cost of analytics software.

    Actually, most the results read like a Comedy of Errors to me.

    For instance, what the CIOs report as the most important use for analytics looks like this:

    1. Clinician utilization and outcomes (31 percent)
    2. Clinical excellence initiatives (21 percent)
    3. Financial management (13 percent)

    While what they’re actually doing looks like this:

    1. Financial management (92 percent and did you see that coming?)
    2. Operational efficiency (87 percent)
    3. Hospital reporting on national quality measures (87 percent)

    No wonder, when Oracle asked health care executives about managing the “data deluge,” three-fourths rated their preparedness a “C” or below.

    The problem is only growing, since health care organizations accumulate 85 percent more data than two years ago, according to the Oracle survey.

    Evon Holladay, the vice president for business intelligence at Catholic Health Initiatives, told Health Informatics the way to solve this problem is by an information oversight council that would govern what’s going to be measured with data analytics.

    Given the current state of affairs, I’d have to agree that defining what you want to measure would be a good place for starting over.

    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

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