Healthcare organizations know they need analytic software tailored to accountable care organization operations and population health management -- but they're not sure where to get it, finds KLAS survey.

David F Carr, Editor, InformationWeek Government/Healthcare

May 1, 2014

5 Min Read
(Source: Pixabay)

20 Tests Healthcare CIOs Must Juggle

20 Tests Healthcare CIOs Must Juggle

20 Tests Healthcare CIOs Must Juggle (Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Healthcare leaders know they will need new sorts of analytics to keep pace with structural changes in the market, but they are less certain what technologies they will need or where to get them. For a research report on analytics geared specifically to new accountable care and value-based business models for healthcare, KLAS Research started with an open-ended question on what vendors were top of mind, addressed to 109 decision makers from provider organizations, 65% of whom serve in a C-level role.

Vendors mentioned most often were Optum, McKesson, The Advisory Board, SAP, Epic, IBM, Cerner, Oracle, Health Catalyst, and Siemens -- but none is in a dominant position. "While healthcare provider mindshare is more pronounced with these vendors than the other 77 mentioned in the research, it should be noted that no vendor received more than 7% of all mentions," the report notes.

[How can you hold onto good employees? Read Nurse Retention Rate Improvement Secret: Analytics.]

"In terms of using analytics for how to deliver better care, people are looking a lot of different directions and ways to look at this," the report's author, Joe Van De Graaff, says in an interview. "There's no one single vendor that comes up repeatedly and regularly who is top of mind."

KLAS has produced several previous surveys on the use of business intelligence (BI) and analytics software, but none quite as focused as this, he says.

Figure 1: (Source: Pixabay) (Source: Pixabay)

"Accountable care is a new frontier for many healthcare providers," Van De Graff says. ACOs are organized to profit most when they maximize the quality of care they can deliver for the lowest cost. Medicare and private payers are using this ACO model to reverse the fee-for-service incentives that have driven overuse of healthcare because each test, procedure, or office visit can be billed separately.

Most organizations "are still trying to figure out the metrics, the KPIs, the costs" most relevant to helping "operationalize performance for ACOs," he says. "In this market, we're seeing some shifting momentum where it's not

Next Page

just who has the best tools, but who can I trust to deliver incrementally on projects and needs throughout?"

That might be why Epic stands out among the vendors of electronic health records and related tools as a vendor hospitals are looking to for ACO analytics. Analytics and reporting have traditionally been seen as among Epic's weaknesses -- ones it has been working to shore up -- but the hospitals who have invested in Epic tend to trust it to deliver a complete set of software products for their clinical and business needs, he says. They also trust Epic's software and services to reflect a better understanding of clinical data than those of cross-industry competitors.

For analytics to support ACOs, Epic got the most mentions, ahead of McKesson, SAP, Optum, The Advisory Board, Siemens, and Tableau. (Tableau is in the running largely because of its ability to visualize data to communicate to management.) For population health analytics, the top-ranked player was Optum, followed closely by McKesson, The Advisory Board, Cerner, Epic, and Explorys. Population health tools are used to monitor patients, particularly ones with chronic diseases, identifying those who have missed appointments or failed to keep up with their medications.

For help with big data analytics, healthcare leaders were more likely to look to major system vendors, with IBM, Oracle, and SAP in the first rank, followed by a mix of BI and healthcare-specific vendors who all scored about the same, including Dimensional Insight, Health Catalyst, Information Builders, McKesson, Microsoft, Optum, and SAS.

For BI consulting help, survey participants were most likely to turn to Cerner, Deloitte, Encore, Accenture, and The Advisory Board. But BI consulting to healthcare is fragmented. Out of the 29 firms mentioned as potential standouts, the top three got just three mentions each.

The differing lists of vendors mentioned for each technology category is interesting, given that many of these technologies overlap. Using population health analytics to deliver more proactive care is important to the success of an ACO, and big-data analytics factor into population health.

"If we were to look at accountable care and population health, we wouldn't come up with a scientific distinction between the two," Van De Graff says. Because this was a study of perceptions, respondents were free to make their own distinctions between the categories, he says. Some might have been from organizations that aren't participating in an ACO per se but are involved in other risk and value-based contracts requiring population health management, he says.

ACOs might also turn out to have differing analytic needs from other healthcare organizations, he says. "Health providers are trying to figure that out right now. I would say that on the financial side, the requirements of accountable care and population health are largely not understood or recognized today. That may be why there's such fragmentation in terms of mindshare for vendors in this market."

Download Healthcare IT in the Obamacare Era, the InformationWeek Healthcare digital issue on the impact of new laws and regulations. Modern technology created the opportunity to restructure the healthcare industry around accountable care organizations, but IT priorities are also being driven by the shift.

About the Author(s)

David F Carr

Editor, InformationWeek Government/Healthcare

David F. Carr oversees InformationWeek's coverage of government and healthcare IT. He previously led coverage of social business and education technologies and continues to contribute in those areas. He is the editor of Social Collaboration for Dummies (Wiley, Oct. 2013) and was the social business track chair for UBM's E2 conference in 2012 and 2013. He is a frequent speaker and panel moderator at industry events. David is a former Technology Editor of Baseline Magazine and Internet World magazine and has freelanced for publications including CIO Magazine, CIO Insight, and Defense Systems. He has also worked as a web consultant and is the author of several WordPress plugins, including Facebook Tab Manager and RSVPMaker. David works from a home office in Coral Springs, Florida. Contact him at [email protected]and follow him at @davidfcarr.

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights