Healthcare Providers Have Big BI Plans

Advent of accountable care organizations and health information exchanges driving hospitals to invest in more business intelligence tools, KLAS survey says.

5 Key Elements For Clinical Decision Support Systems
5 Key Elements For Clinical Decision Support Systems
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More than 50% of health delivery organizations will either purchase new business intelligence (BI) technology or replace their old systems during the next three years, according to a KLAS survey.

Of the 147 respondents, representing 137 healthcare provider organizations, 33% said they intend to purchase new BI tools, while 19% said they will replace their BI systems. Another 33% reported that they will continue with their current BI tools, and 14% said they have no plans to change these systems.

The KLAS report, Business Intelligence Perception 2012: A Wave is Coming, sought to gauge the views of health IT executives at healthcare provider organizations on their data analytics needs and vendor preferences.

Among its findings: Although McKesson, SAP, and IBM systems were considered by 43% of providers, a total of 37 vendors were mentioned, a very high number, according to Joe Van De Graaff, the report's author. Van De Graaff also said healthcare providers are looking at BI vendors with tools that provide clinical quality reporting, but many are turning to vendors that do not have a healthcare focus.

[ Practice management software keeps the medical office running smoothly. For a closer look at KLAS' top-ranked systems, see 10 Top Medical Practice Management Software Systems. ]

"Healthcare reform is driving a lot of different initiatives and business intelligence is seen as a critical part of that," Van De Graaff told InformationWeek Healthcare. "Whether a health system is looking to understand, for example, readmission rates and be able to predict how that will affect their revenue or whether a health system is looking at how to share information, data is at the heart of it. The whole idea and principle behind it is to be able to make more informed decisions based on the data."

To prepare for a new healthcare system that requires more data analytics, respondents said they want to use their new business intelligence tools for clinical and financial data, as well as predictive analytics, data modeling, forecasting, and trending.

The research also suggests that a trend is developing among providers who want a complete view of their data and are seeking to bring together data sources across different departments and disciplines within a health system. The result will be a "single source of truth," that requires an enterprise data warehouse, the report states.

Not surprisingly, the report found that 83% of providers are looking to pursue an enterprise BI strategy that will simultaneously organize, analyze, and visualize clinical, financial, and operational data across the organization.

A smaller group of providers is opting for a non-enterprise approach. They are pursuing vendors who are clinically focused, such as the Advisory Board and Cerner; financially focused, such as Lawson or Oracle; or departmentally focused, such as Omnicell, which specializes in the pharmacy market.

Still other health providers are implementing a hybrid approach. Some, for example, are engaging SAP for their enterprise strategy, but approaching vendors such as Humedica for population health analytics, the research found.

Purchasing decisions also are being dictated by the size of the hospital. According to Van De Graaff, smaller hospitals lean toward prepackaged BI technology that requires fewer IT skills, and is ready to adapt to specific healthcare needs, models, and requirements.

Larger hospitals, on the other hand, are opting for BI platforms capable of processing financial, operational, and clinical analytics. These platforms draw information from different data sources and require more customization, larger budgets, and additional IT skills.

Given the report's findings, Van De Graaff said vendors' BI systems will be required to meet many different healthcare initiatives in the years ahead. "The challenge for these BI vendors will be to meet some of the government reporting requirements related to healthcare reform such as Meaningful Use, while still retaining and offering a true business intelligence platform," Van De Graaff said.

The 2012 InformationWeek Healthcare IT Priorities Survey finds that grabbing federal incentive dollars and meeting pay-for-performance mandates are the top issues facing IT execs. Find out more in the new, all-digital Time To Deliver issue of InformationWeek Healthcare. (Free registration required.)

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