Analytics 2014: Beware the 'easy choice'

By Brent Dover
01:03 PM

When overwhelmed by complex choices, most people will opt for the one that's easiest. In 2014, many healthcare leaders, overwhelmed by the sheer number of analytics vendors and strategies, will opt for the easy solution -- they'll ask their EHR provider for help. This will be a serious mistake.

A 2013 survey by the eHealth Initiative and CHIME confirmed the market's confusion about analytics. 80 percent of CIOs believe analytics is an important strategic goal, but only 45 percent feel they have a handle on the growing volume of health data. Much of the confusion stems from a lack of clarity about the analytics required for value-based care. Organizations once could get by with internal reporting and key process indicators. But health reform has sparked a renaissance in analytics. Multiple vendors are pushing point solutions to address capitated payments, fee-for-quality and ACOs.

Not surprisingly, EHR vendors have their own offerings. As with all other solutions on the market, it's wise to practice skepticism. Be certain any vendor can demonstrate:

1. A significant track record with analytics,

2. The agile data architecture required to handle big data, and especially,

3. The ability to integrate data from multiple systems, including those from competitors.

In analytics, everything depends on incorporating data from multiple systems, which is the hallmark of an enterprise data warehouse. Many hospitals and health systems that invested in data warehousing as the foundation of their analytics strategy began this year to uncover information that led to dramatic improvements in quality and cost.

In 2014, they will be positioned to cut aggressive ACO contracts and to take significant market share from their competitors. And they will have done it without taking the easy way out and betting on a horse with no track record. It's the smart approach that we believe will become increasingly obvious in 2014, and beyond.

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