The healthcare industry is on the cusp of a data and analytics golden age. We are moving steadily from a volume-based system to one that seeks to answer the overarching question, “Are we delivering value?” on a daily basis. Enterprise electronic medical record systems are ubiquitous, generating rich clinical and operational datasets. New technologies now provide access to cheap, unlimited data storage and processing power—good news, as the volume of healthcare data grew nearly 900% from 2016 to 2018 . Breakthroughs in methods and tooling have brought machine learning, natural language processing, artificial intelligence, and other advanced analytic techniques to the forefront. Interoperability standards continue to advance.
In short, data and analytics have matured to become an integral and enabling part of healthcare’s clinical, financial, and operational fabric. These resources promise to be transformational for the organizations that use them effectively, whether their role is to provide care, pay for services, bring new products to market, or approach and prove value in new channels.
In such organizations, for example:
Important strategic decisions would always be made with the benefit of empirical evidence, which could be continuously gathered and synthesized in near real time rather than in weeks or months.
Innovators in care delivery and population health management would have information at their fingertips to inform, prioritize, coordinate, and integrate care, without needing to dig through an avalanche of irrelevant reports and alerts.
Advanced analytics would be used to anticipate future events, automate tedious and expensive manual processes, and sift through huge amounts of data to inform the earliest points of intervention (e.g., behavior modification) that drive greater value and differentiation.
Feedback systems would foster a culture of inquiry and innovation by tracking current performance, measuring the real-time impact of new solutions, and surfacing and remediating failures as they occur.
Unfortunately, these benefits remain more promise than reality for most healthcare organizations in the country. With so much at stake—most notably, huge amounts of wasteful spending and stubbornly persistent shortcomings in care delivery and patient outcomes—it has become a strategic imperative for the role of data and analytics in today’s healthcare organizations to be examined with fresh eyes, particularly as the U.S. healthcare landscape becomes even more complex.
What stands in the way of meaningful progress, and how do we remove those barriers? Peyman Zand, Vice President, CereCore, summarized a recent virtual roundtable event on this topic for Health IT Answers. The seven panelists, including Ursa Health CEO Dr. Robin Clarke, shared some practical advice for CIOs looking to implement advanced analytics solutions.