Rocky road ahead for BI

Fragmented solutions, overlapping reporting expected to give way to enterprise view

Clinical and business intelligence, often called BI, for short, is the “hottest space in healthcare IT, and it’s going to be a free-for-all,” Dave Garets, warned a standing-room-only audience at the Clinical and Business Intelligence Symposium March 3 at HIMSS 13.

Garets most recently served as executive director at The Advisory Board Company and before that as CEO of HIMSS Analytics. He said BI today is where EHRs were years ago – at the beginning.  The market is fragmented, which equals limited value. Healthcare organizations employ multiple BI solutions. There is duplicate and overlapping reporting going on, definition of terms is non-existent or lacking, point solutions present challenges.

The bottom line?

“You find out you don’t really have good data,” Garets said.

However, BI, like the EHR has, is moving toward an enterprise view, he said, and once that happens, “you can start doing analytics,” he said. “It’s possible to add more and more data – a larger variety of data, not just structured data.”

Years ago healthcare organizations built their own EHRs (Partners HealthCare, which did just that, today is in the midst of an Epic rollout). Then came a best-of-breed environment. Today, it’s a best-of-suite environment for most organizations, Garets noted.

“I don't see why you would treat the BI space any different than that,” he said.

“You’ll find a lot of challenges along the way,” he warned. “You’re going to have change management issues coming out of your ears.”

Garets recommended getting senior leadership involved, and suggested that IT should not be “driving the bus.”

“You don’t want to claim this in the IT domain,” he said. Both clinical and business issues arise, he noted. A COO is probably the right leader for BI projects.

Healthcare organizations will find out that putting in a $3 million Epic system is just the start,” he predicted.

“That’s a start that gets you in the game,” he said. To those who thought they were already there, he said, “you’re not.” It’s going to be a hard transition even for the 10.1 percent of healthcare Organizations that have competed Stage 6 on the HIMSS Analytics/directory/analytics" target="_blank" class="directory-item-link">Analytics EMRAM scale, he said.

However, the sea change in healthcare will occur. Along the way, there may be boulders, giant mousetraps, and flesh eating bacteria, he cautioned.

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