Hurdles persist for provider use of data analytics

Healthcare providers more often turn to different sources of electronic data for their analytics efforts, according to a new survey conducted jointly by the eHealth Initiative and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives.

Still, providers continue to rely on basic operations to support such efforts.

Of the 98 healthcare organizations that responded to the survey, 39 percent said that they use between 11 and 50 disparate electronic platforms or interfaces to collect and analyze their data, such as electronic health records; 15 percent said that they use more than 100 systems.

Less than half (45 percent) of responding organizations, however, said that they use data from patient portals and health risk assessments, while close to one-third said they currently do not analyze patient-generated data.

A recent report from the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation concluded that such efforts will not reduce costs or improve care unless the industry overcomes challenges around standards and methods.

"CIOs have increasingly significant workloads at a time when their staff is being reduced, their investments are being cut and expectations for the value of HIT solutions are increasing," CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell said in a statement. "The promise of health IT can only be achieved if we're focused on transformation efforts."

Ninety-four percent of respondents said they currently use descriptive analytics, while 68 percent said they use predictive analytics. However, only one-fifth of respondents said that they integrate analytic operations at an institutional level.

Research published earlier this year in BMC Medicine determined that risk prediction and personalized medicine efforts remain in their infancy. Similarly, a survey published in April by HIMSS Analytics found that the use of data analytics by provider organizations remains "immature."

A report published last fall by Framingham, Mass.-based research and consulting firm IDC Health Insights, meanwhile, found that health payers put more stock in the effectiveness of big data and analytics tools than providers.

To learn more:
- download the report
- read the announcement