Despite all the hoopla about clinical and business intelligence (C&BI) applications, the use of these tools by hospitals and healthcare systems is still in an early phase, a new report indicates. Only 46% of the 529 respondents to a HIMSS Analytics survey said they were using C&BI, and the majority of those indicated they were still learning how to use these analytic tools.
Also revealing was the fact that more than half of C&BI users said they were using the analytic modules imbedded in their electronic health record/hospital information system (EHR/HIS). In contrast, less than a quarter of the C&BI users had purchased "best of breed" solutions, which tend to be more robust than those in EHR/HIS products.
Most hospitals and healthcare organizations "haven’t even begun to take full advantage of their solutions," said Brendan Fitzgerald, HIMSS Analytics' research director, in an interview with InformationWeek Healthcare. "As we see in this study, many are using C&BI solutions imbedded in their HIS or their EHR. While that may be ideal for them on a very localized level, ideally they want to be able to do that on a broader scale. So it's no surprise that they're still at an early stage in their analytics usage."
The reliance on EHR/HIS tools, he added, can be ascribed to the focus of most hospitals on achieving Meaningful Use and getting government incentive dollars. Their EHR vendors' solutions can help them do that, and most healthcare providers haven't yet started looking at best-of-breed applications for other purposes. In fact, of the total respondents who didn't already have a non-EHR/HIS solution, only 9% indicated they planned to buy one within the next two years.
Nevertheless, Fitzgerald noted, the outlook is "somewhat bright" for best-of-breed C&BI vendors. Right now, most of their customers are larger organizations that are ahead of the curve on healthcare reform. But 43% of respondents were unsure about whether to purchase a C&BI solution, "and we'll start to see that group start to turn into buyers as we get further down the road toward population health management and accountable care."
Among the top C&BI vendors mentioned by respondents who planned to acquire an analytics solution were Truven, Elsevier, Cognos, SAP, SAS, MedeAnalytics, Health Catalyst, QlikView, ReportingMD and Humedica.