Analytics vendor capabilities are expanding as hospital use cases are too

As healthcare providers find new and innovative uses for their data, the capabilities of analytics vendors to help them manage it for a variety of use cases are also on the rise, according to a new study from Chilmark Research.

The report finds that these vendors’ analytics tools are fast-evolving to help hospitals and health systems make the most of their enterprise performance management efforts. Most of these organizations are still focused primarily on succeeding with value-based reimbursement, say Chilmark researchers, but more and more are broadening the ways they put clinical, financial, and operational data to work.

The vendors it examined include Allscripts, Arcadia, athenahealth, CareEvolution, Cerner, Change Healthcare, eClinicalWorks, Epic, Forward Health Group, Health Catalyst, HealthEC, IBM Watson Health, Innovaccer, Lightbeam, MedeAnalytics, Medecision, MEDITECH, NextGen, Optum, Philips, SCIO Health Analytics, SpectraMedix and SPH Analytics.

Chilmark noted that, unsurprisingly, reporting “is and will remain the ‘killer app’ for analytics,” with hospitals widely availing themselves of dashboards and reports gauging their efforts to contain cost, boost quality and optimize utilization.

“Analytics for value-based care is the primary driver of adoption,” researchers said. “Tracking performance in value-based contracts was the pioneer application for many healthcare users.”

But as they get more comfortable with risk-sharing arrangements, more advanced health systems are working toward more innovative implementation approaches and use cases, according to the report.

For instance, some are now “embedding analytic insights directly in applications workflow” – even if that’s a practice that’s still “far from widespread,” Chilmark researchers noted. These advanced users are deploying tools across many different initiatives, in search of both predictive and prescriptive insights.

As analytics maturity increases in general, many vendors are “consolidating point and departmental reporting solutions with value-based analytics offerings onto a single analytics platform.” They’re also offering more advanced analytics, such as incorporating artificial intelligence and data science techniques to their products.

But the larger hurdle is a familiar one: Even with robust technology, efficiently deployed, “taking action based on analytics is still a challenge,” said researchers. “Translating insights into action is hard to do at the patient level and at the population level.”

With health systems facing a “perfect storm” of disruption and challenge – not least the “Silver Tsunami” of an aging patient population – they need any edge they can get to keep costs in check while delivering top-quality care.

We’ve shown how providers can best deploy analytics technologies and strategies, but how the tools are put to work depends on the culture and leadership of each individual organization. Despite the forward-thinking innovations highlighted in the Chilmark report, some tech experts still think that healthcare isn’t thinking creatively enough about how their data can work for them.

“In recent years, analytics technology has been widely deployed to support the transition from fee-for-service to value based care,” according to the report. “The variety of pay-for-performance, pay-for reporting and risk- and revenue-sharing programs with payers is leading provider organizations to invest in applications that help measure and monitor costs, quality, and utilization, as well as understand the risks of the populations they serve. But the applications for analytics are broader than just VBC.”

“Healthcare enterprises, recognizing the potential value of the increasing volumes of data they hold, are expanding their use of mainstream and advanced analytics to more use cases and more user groups,” said Brian Murphy, director of research at Chilmark and lead author of the report.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: [email protected]

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