Healthcare leaders: Predictive analytics will save health systems millions

But big hurdles related to data, technology and staffing need to be cleared first.
By Mike Miliard
03:42 PM
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Predictive analytics save health systems millions

More than half of healthcare executives polled for a new Society of Actuaries survey see predictive analytics saving their organizations 15 percent or more of their total budget within the next five years.

In polling 223 provider and payer executives for its Predictive Analytics in Healthcare Trend Forecast, the group found that more than a quarter of them see budget savings of 25 percent or more using clinical and business intelligence technology.

While just 47 percent of providers say they currently deploy predictive analytics, 89 percent say they plan to start, or expand current analytics initiatives, in the next five years.

[Also: Predictive analytics is about finding patterns, riding a surfboard in a data tsunami]

They're eyeing big returns from the projects, expecting that the tools will help them realize big budget savings in process efficiency and financial gains from clinical quality improvement.

Still, there are considerable impediments to implementing predictive analytics to its fullest potential, say the actuaries, with executives citing an array of challenges to wider adoption, most notably tight budgets for analytics investments, which was cited by 16 percent of respondents.

Other challenges included: regulatory issues such as HIPAA (13 percent); incomplete data (12 percent); challenges finding skilled employees (11 percent); lack of sufficient IT infrastructure (10 percent); too much data (9 percent); problems with patient matching (8 percent); concerns about data accuracy (7 percent) and lack of executive support (5 percent).

But those hurdles are worth overcoming: A whopping  93 percent of the C-suite executives polled say predictive analytics are important to the future of their business.

"As value-based care gains prominence, smart organizations are leveraging predictive analytics to forecast health and clinical outcomes to help achieve the Triple Aim," said Ian Duncan, professor of actuarial statistics in the Department of Statistics and Applied Probability at UC Santa Barbara.

Interestingly, patient satisfaction was the top most valuable metric provider organizations hoped to improve using predictive analytics, with 53 percent citing its importance. Next in line were readmissions (48 percent); staffing and workforce needs (46 percent) and clinical outcomes (41 percent).

As execs look to the future, they plan to target their investments in refining data collection methods to increase security, investment in employees with the right expertise, data visualization, process automation, making better use of wearable devices for data collection and machine-learning techniques, according to the report.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com


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