The United States spends more on health care than any other country in the world, at an estimated 17.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013. U.S. health care spending is outperforming revenue as a percentage of GDP, and is projected to grow by an average of 4.9 percent a year in 2014-18, to 17.9 percent of GDP by 2018.
There has been a major transformation in Healthcare due to the new Regulatory laws to ensure patient centric care which focuses on accountability and affordability, increase in quality care and reduce cost. Healthcare organizations are going through a technology and data revolution. Both Health plans and Providers have to look at their data and technology investments in new and innovative ways to gain competitive advantage as well as satisfy regulatory requirements.
Patients are leading the way, bearing more of the cost of their own care – and making more care decisions. Patients are no longer satisfied with just meeting with their doctors. Increasingly, they expect to access lab results on their phones soon after leaving the medical center.
Technology has long been a valued resource in healthcare, but adoption has been slower than in other industries. Now, more than ever, it is critical to embrace technology, as it has become a must-have tool for transforming patient engagement, enabling personalized medicine, augmenting labor and contributing to better outcomes.
The healthcare IT leaders of today are doing more than just talking a good digital game. They are fundamentally changing the way technology is used for care delivery. Healthcare consumers, providers and payers are embracing the transformational power of technology, and it’s paying off in unprecedented efficiency and effectiveness across the care ecosystem.
Having said that, it is worthwhile to look at factors that these reports highlight that could be impacting the adoption rate in healthcare analytics today.
Healthcare analytics has tremendous potential. The market has been estimated to be over 20 billion by the year 2020 according to industry research firms, and the promise of improved population health, reduced healthcare costs, and patient safety seems very attractive. A recent survey on healthcare analytics by CDW indicated that over two-thirds of healthcare decision makers considered analytics among their top 3 priorities, with rising costs of healthcare being the biggest motivating factor. The report highlighted that 82 percent of the respondents saw improved patient care, with 63 percent seeing reduced readmission rates. A separate study by HIMSS and Jvion, specifically on the use of predictive models in healthcare, indicated that readmissions, along with sepsis, were the top use cases for predictive modeling.
If we look at some of the research findings most healthcare organizations are extensive users of descriptive analytics. They are using reporting tools and applications descriptively to understand what has happened in the past and to classify and categorize historical, usually structured data.
The CDW study highlights interoperability between technologies as one of the major factors impacting the adoption of analytics. Interoperability remains one of the healthcare sector’s top technology issues, if not the top one today. There is a whole separate debate under way about the usability of electronic health record (EHR) systems and data errors that I will not go into here, however it may well be that adoption levels for analytics are directly impacted by this issue.
Data breaches and data security may be a lesser factor when healthcare enterprises are analyzing their own data within their firewalls, it does become a consideration when data has to be transferred to external environments such as the cloud.
The most encouraging finding from these surveys is that analytics, defined in any manner, is a top priority for healthcare today. The coming years promise to be very exciting for professionals committing themselves to this space.