HIMSS Analytics: Top hospital apps focus on operational efficiency

Bed management, enterprise resource planning and financial modeling applications are expected to be some of the hottest on the market among hospitals, according to a new report from HIMSS Analytics. 

The report analyzes market penetration (saturated, mature to maturing) and projected sales volumes (decelerating, marginal to accelerating) for 26 hospital applications, outlining the biggest opportunities for health IT vendors

Those top three reflect the industry's drive for greater cost-effectiveness and clinical efficiency, Lorren Pettit, vice president of market research for HIMSS Analytics, said in an announcement.

Previous reports looked at clinical applications, while these are on the operational side--which he called the "red-headed stepchild" of health IT lately.

The operational applications fall into six categories: business intelligence, financial decision support, general financials, human resources, revenue cycle management and supply chain management.

"The Meaningful Use regulations have created an unnatural market--all the attention has been on clinical applications. And that's not been driven by demand, it's been driven by incentives," Pettit told FierceHealthIT.

The operational applications have been "aging in place," as Pettit put it, with attention and budgets focused elsewhere. But he forecasts a coming surge in demand.

"The growth we're predicting will be fairly muted, but there will come a tipping point when they'll have to be changed out," he said.

The exception was for financial modeling applications, projected to grow by 12 percent a year for five years.

"Hospitals have to get their arms around being smarter about being predictive about where their revenue is going to come from," Pettit said.

Among the projected areas of highest growth: two in financial decision support--contract management and financial data warehousing/mining; and one from the revenue cycle management category--medical necessity checking content applications.

The top three applications aren't coming from a single category, Pettit pointed out. "That indicates there's not just one way hospitals are trying to gain efficiency," he said. "They're not all marching to the same beat. There's a multitude of ways."

Hospitals and ambulatory care centers reported that cost reduction is the focal point of their innovation initiatives, according to the 2013 Healthcare Provider Innovation Survey from HIMSS and innovation accelerator AVIA. However, most reported their budgets for innovation totaled less than $2 million.

Meanwhile, in a six-week pilot of bed-tracking technology conducted at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, wait times were cut by more than an hour for roughly half of all incoming emergency room patients.

To learn more:
- here's the announcement