The volumes of data hospitals are collecting only have value if they are used to make better decisions. As a new survey from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions puts it, “As health systems continue to face shrinking margins, tightening budgets, and evolving payment models, analytics are being touted as the missing key to unlock new sources of value.” “Organizations will need to blend financial, operational, clinical, and other data to achieve their goals of improving quality, providing access, controlling cost, and managing provider networks,” concludes the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions 2015 US Hospital and Health System Analytics Survey.
Meanwhile, the latest report from HIMSS Analytics, a company that tracks technology use at US hospitals, suggests we can expect growth in the use of certain technologies based on their potential to help hospitals achieve efficiencies and the number of hospitals yet to investment in them. These are all technologies in which less than 70 percent of hospitals have yet made their first investment.
The five biggest areas in which hospitals are expected to invest over the next 12 months according to the HIMSS Analytics report are:
1. Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
You cannot cut costs if you do not know what is going on in the business, but 65 percent of hospitals have yet to invest in ERP to seek out inefficiencies and duplicated efforts.
2. Financial modeling
More than half of hospitals have not invested in financial modeling although being able to model possible outcomes would improve the hospital’s position in the negotiation of risk sharing agreements with insurance companies.
3. Bed management
Just under half of hospitals have yet to invest in bed management, although beds are one of the most expensive aspects of hospital operation. The opportunities are huge for cost cutting when you have better information about exactly where those assets are and how and for what they are being used.
4. Business intelligence
Clinical business intelligence is used by 60 percent of hospitals to make decisions based on data they are holding. That leaves two-fifths of hospitals still to invest.
According to an article on Health Catalyst, "Independent research firm Gartner, Inc., notes in its 2014 report, Top Actions for Healthcare Delivery Organization CIOs, 2014: Avoid 25 Years of Mistakes in Enterprise Data Warehousing, that the lack of a BI strategy is one of 'nine fatal flaws in business operations improvement (BOI)' in healthcare. 'Most vendors working in healthcare and other industries observe that healthcare has the most complex data of any industry (possibly excluding government intelligence efforts),' the report states. At the same time, organizations aren’t yet fully tackling their wealth of data. 'The biggest flaw of all is the lack of a documented BI strategy, or the use of a poorly developed or socialized one.'"
5. Data warehouse
Again, 40 percent of hospitals are still to make the leap to investing in a data warehouse. Having the processing power of a data warehouse goes hand in hand with being able to make the clever, efficient decisions that clinical business intelligence makes possible.
Bonus: Process automation
Process Automation was not one of the health technologies included in the HIMSS report, but a study has shown that automation in hospitals results in a reduction in deaths, complications and cost. A hospital uses a myriad of processes to operate on a daily basis. Every process from admission to medication dispensing to discharge can be automated using process management.