Analytics use in healthcare still 'immature'

While a growing number of health providers are turning to data analytics to help improve care and lower costs at their facilities, the use of analytics in healthcare remains relatively immature, according to a recent survey from HIMSS Analytics.

For the report, touted last week at the Healthcare Business Intelligence Forum in Washington, D.C., roughly 1,800 healthcare professionals at 22 hospitals--including the Cleveland Clinic and Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare--were surveyed, Government Health IT reported. The survey results also showed that, despite its growth, big data is seen as "one of the least important competencies" by providers.

James Gaston, senior director for clinical and business intelligence at HIMSS Analytics, discussed the survey's results at the forum, saying that analytics should be more accepted by organizations as a whole, and not just on the business or clinical sides, respectively.

"Everybody needs to embrace analytics for it to be part of the culture and mature," Gaston said. "How do you know if your organization is good at analytics? For a lot of us who aren't Geisinger, we have to figure it out."

Hospital CIOs surveyed last summer by echoed some of the report's sentiments, with many saying that while they had been using data analytics tools, they weren't doing so at a "sophisticated level;" others said their organizations did not have the manpower or skills necessary to take advantage of big data tools at a high level.

A report published last fall by Framingham, Mass.-based research and consulting firm IDC Health Insights, meanwhile, found health payers to be putting more stock in the effectiveness of big data and analytics tools than providers. Overall, 80 percent of payer IT decision makers surveyed said that between 1 and 24 percent of their budgets were used on analytics technology; less than half (49 percent) of provider IT decision makers chose a similar path.

An analysis published last spring by McKinsey & Company predicted that big data could help U.S. citizens save as much as $450 billion in healthcare costs.

To learn more:
- read the Government Health IT story