Population health drives growth in big data analytics

More than half of U.S. healthcare providers now use software to analyze clinical and business intelligence data, according to a study by HIMSS Analytics.
The adoption of big data analytics by healthcare organizations has reached 52.1 percent in 2015, up from 46.2 percent in 2013, the study found. Perhaps more significantly, how these providers use clinical and business intelligence (C&BI) tools is changing.
“In 2013, organizations were primarily interested in using C&BI to support their accountable care efforts, whereas in 2015, primary C&BI focus had shifted to population health,” states the executive summary for the 2015 HIMSS Analytics Clinical & Business Intelligence Study.
Driving the increasing use of C&BI and the shift in its focus are 1) the industrywide move toward value-based care and reimbursement and away from fee-for-service and volume-based healthcare pricing models, 2) the growth of Population Health and Accountable Care, and 3) a desire to use predictive analytics for clinical care and financial management.
Of those healthcare organizations using C&BI solutions in 2015, 39.8 percent say they intend to use analytics for “predictive modeling and optimization, in addition to descriptive analytics or reporting, to make better business and healthcare decisions,” up from 33.7 percent in 2013. 
All other uses cases have decreased in 2015, including integrating data from multiple internal sources (such as clinical and operations data), mixing internal data with external data, and tracking and managing data that providers are required to submit to government agencies and insurance companies.

Access to data across the entire organization will become more important as the level of data will only increase in the future

But to fully leverage C&BI tools, providers must be able to access the data they need when they need it. For this reason, healthcare organizations have a greater desire in 2015 to store and run data in a centralized location. 
The HIMSS Analytics study shows that the reliance on enterprise data warehouses has increased since 2013, while the use of other data locations such as operational data stores and transactional locations has diminished.
“Access to data across the entire organization will become more important as the level of data will only increase in the future,” HIMSS Analytics writes.
Finally, the study shows a strong preference among providers toward using existing EHR/HIS systems for their analytics needs, though “best-of-breed” C&BI solutions are slowly gaining ground. While the top area of focus for providers that have invested in C&BI tools, based on the HIMSS Analytics survey of nearly 200 healthcare professionals, is population management, accountable care, predictive analytics and revenue cycle management also were cited as priorities.

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