HFMA: Hospitals deficient in business intelligence apps

More than 80 percent of healthcare organizations are investing in business intelligence tools for clinical performance improvement, according to a new report from the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA). 

More than 60 percent of the responding organizations are investing in coding systems, according to the report, which was presented at the HFMA's recent annual conference. About a quarter are sinking money into data warehouses, and a slightly smaller portion are buying new costing systems.

Despite the low percentage of institutions that have the latter capability, the HFMA points out that they will need it to succeed in a value-based payment environment.

"Very small percentages of respondents today have significant ability to attribute per patient costs across the care continuum and few organizations are able to quantify the financial impact of quality improvements," the reported noted. "This skill will be important as organizations determine how to reduce their cost structure over time to remain market-competitive."

Among the areas where healthcare systems are most deficient, the report points out, are these categories:

  • Produce cost data per patient for a defined period of time
  • Produce cost data per patient on a timely basis
  • Allocate overhead to patient level.

A large percentage of respondents said they would improve in these and other costing areas over the next three to five years. In addition, three-quarters of respondents said they plan to invest in better financial and clinical decision support capabilities to prepare for value-based reimbursement.

There has been a spate of activity recently in the clinical decision support (CDS) space. The Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT recently launched the HealtheDecisions wiki that has enlisted a wide range of public- and private-sector participants to standardize CDS applications. And a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association found that three dozen community hospitals were using CDS as effectively as some larger institutions do.

To learn more:
- read the HFMA report
- see the JAMIA study