Culture change will help healthcare realize the full potential of data analytics

Healthcare still hasn't realized the full potential of data analytics.

Despite the widespread proliferation of patient data, healthcare still has a long way to go before realizing the full potential of analytics.

Five years after McKinsey and Company predicted big data had the potential to transform several industries, the consulting firm released an updated report last month indicating that although data analytics capabilities have made significant strides in recent years, most industries still haven’t integrated analytics to their full potential. According to the report, healthcare has captured only 10% to 20% of the potential value associated with big data. Many providers are still struggling with the basics of analytics.

One major reason that some industries haven’t realized the full potential of analytics is because organizations have been slow to entrench analytics into the framework of the company, McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) partner Michael Chui said in a recent interview with InformationWeek.

"It’s not for lack of awareness,” he said. “It’s the hard organization work of changing how an organization operates so that it embeds the findings into the practices and processes. That’s where we think a lot of the missed potential has been.”

A depleted talent pool of data scientists continues to be a factor, he added, but could be mitigated through the emergence of business translators that can act as intermediaries to help executives understand the benefits of analytics. Other industries, such as retail, have seen wider adoption of analytics because new startups have made analytics a focal point of their success, forcing existing companies to adapt. Moving forward, Chui said, machine learning offers even greater potential for a number of industries.

RELATED: Dissatisfaction is a 'wake-up call' for healthcare analytics vendors

The data analytics market is expected to change dramatically over the next couple of years as providers have expressed dissatisfaction with analytics vendors and raised concerns about data quality and privacy. Meanwhile, accountable care organizations have found success by using data analytics to identify patients susceptible to hospital readmissions.