Gearing up to Make the Most of Analytics

Driven by value-based care and personalized medicine, the global healthcare analytics market is poised to grow from $4.4 million in 2013 to $21.3 million in 2020 – an annual growth rate of about 25%, according to a report published by Research and Markets, Dublin.

With such growth on the horizon, HIMSSwire recently spoke with Barry Chaiken, M.D., Chief Medical Information Officer at Infor, a New York City-based business application software vendor, to get his perspective on the importance of analytics; the need to create interoperability to support analytics; and what it will take for healthcare organizations to fully leverage analytics.

Here are five observations that healthcare leaders, clinicians and staff need to keep top of mind as analytics becomes a more common element of the overall information technology mix:

#1: Analytics is apt to get more and more important as time marches on. “More than ever before, healthcare organizations are now being called upon to pay close attention to clinical and financial outcomes. You can’t move forward or improve if you can’t measure what you are doing. Fortunately, we have more data to work with than ever before. Instead of just working with claims data, we now have all kinds of clinical and patient data flowing into organizations through electronic health records.”

#2: To do analytics right, organizations have to do interoperability right. “You really can’t do analytics unless you have interoperability between all of the systems across the continuum of care. You have to have information from the entire episode of care to ensure that you are making decisions based on a complete set of information, on the whole episode of care,” Chaiken says.

#3: Organizations need to truly care about interoperability to make it happen. “People have to care about interoperability to take action. Working under traditional reimbursement models, providers typically don’t care if they push costs or care to another facility. But if you are working in an accountable care organization with a global cap on the costs for an episode of care, then you will need to leverage data from other systems to more effectively provide treatment. If the incentives are there, the interoperability will happen,” Chaiken says.

#4: Analytics for analytics’ sake does nothing. You’ve got to use the information to take action. “The really big challenge that organizations face is using the analytics to change behavior. That’s the Holy Grail. Fortunately, it’s becoming easier to bring about this change. More physicians are now employees of provider organizations. As such, it’s easier to implement standards and required protocols. In addition, as the workforce changes, people are just naturally becoming much more comfortable with analytics, being measured and then implementing changes.”

#5: To make analytics “actionable” it has to be easy. “Clinicians and other staff members will only benefit the knowledge emanating from analytics if it is easy to use. If they have to step away from the computer and take the time to analyze the information, they won’t use it,” Chaiken says. “Infor’s Mingle, for example, helps to make all the data more actionable. Mingle takes information from multiple systems and pulls it all together into one meaningful presentation, making it much easier for end-users to digest the information – and act upon it.”