In IDC's survey of 40 hospitals and 30 insurers, 50% of respondents said their highest investment priority was advanced analytics. Forty-six percent were placing their chips on data warehousing, which is closely associated with the use of analytics.
The latter figure is higher than that in a 2011 survey by HIMSS Analytics, which found that only 30% of healthcare providers had data warehouses. But the IDC number includes health insurers, most of whom have data warehouses, noted Cynthia Burghard, IDC's research director of accountable care IT strategies, in an interview with Information Week Healthcare.
Moreover, only organizations involved in building accountable care organizations or patient-centered medical homes were included in the IDC survey. The hospitals among those respondents would be more likely than the average provider to have a data warehouse, she said.
[ How are healthcare organizations encouraging patients to take the reins? See our slideshow 7 Portals Powering Patient Engagement. ]
The explosion of interest in analytics, Burghard observed, can be attributed to the emergence of new care delivery models that focus on population health management. "You can't do that if you don't know who your patients are and what their characteristics are," she said.
The types of data that the respondents said were needed to deliver appropriate preventive and chronic care to patients included claims (57%), clinical structured data (73%), and care management data (70%).
Healthcare providers are "just starting to learn how to use clinical data coming out of EHRs" for analytic purposes, Burghard pointed out. But they can already get some valuable information on their patients from claims data. "When they're working with the payers, the payers are providing them with claims data, at least for their population," she said.
In fact, "claims is the dominant source of data" for healthcare analytics today, she said, although it's usually mixed with clinical and other data.