Healthcare industry lagging with BI deployments

Business intelligence deployments have not reached widespread adoption in the healthcare field.

Despite the clear advantages of studying patient data with advanced analytics and business intelligence (BI) tools, the healthcare industry is struggling to leverage these innovative tools to improve patient care. A recent TEKsystems survey found that 58 percent of health providers have not adopted a BI platform.

So what is keeping healthcare organizations from using BI solutions to their full potential? The survey discovered that more than one-third of respondents cited data complexity as their No. 1 challenge. Another 24 percent lack the proper analysis requirements and 23 percent are experiencing interoperability issues.

These are not the only shortcomings impacting the adoption of BI tools throughout the health field. TEKsystems found that 32 percent of participants indicated a lack of skills and resources as their biggest challenge to using BI solutions.

Although healthcare organizations are struggling to benefit from a successful BI implementation, they realize such tools are helpful for improving key areas of their operations. Nearly half of respondents want to enhance overall data availability with BI, while 37 percent would like to improve patient treatment outcomes.

Allen Kriete, vice president of healthcare services at TEKsystems, explained that although healthcare organizations understand the capabilities of BI solutions, there is "a long road ahead for implementation."

"For those without an implementation plan already in place, it will be critical that they identify the necessary skill sets and secure the necessary talent in order to ensure a smooth deployment that is custom-fit for their organization's unique needs," Kriete suggested.

The potential of BI, analytics in healthcare is great
If healthcare organizations continue making BI and data analytics top priorities, the end results will be worth it in the long run. Patient information is some of, if not the most, important content available in any field because it allows caregivers to potentially save lives if the right diagnosis is made early enough.

Looking ahead, the adoption of these solutions will see a surge, according to a Frost & Sullivan forecast. The research firm indicated that the use of BI and analytics among U.S. hospitals in 2011 was only 10 percent. By 2016, this figure is projected to total at least 50 percent, Healthcare Global reported. Keeping costs in check with budgets, improving efficiency and enhancing patient care were all cited as benefits of BI and analytics.

Predictive analytics specifically may be just what the healthcare industry needs to not just improve how hospitals care for patients, but how they cure them, according to Richard Merkin, president and chief executive of Heritage Provider Network.

"Hospitalizations are very expensive and cost this country a lot of the resources we're using in health care. Imagine if you could effectively predict who was going to be hospitalized," Merkin said, according to Healthcare Global. "You could reallocate resources to prevent unnecessary hospitalization and put those resources to use for cure rather than care."

If there is one certainty throughout the healthcare industry it is that the amount of data, especially related to patients, will only grow in volume in the near future. This information is not only valuable for improving patient care and reducing costs, but also helping health organizations' marketing strategies. Firms that can better understand their audiences' preferences are able to determine key facts about their patients and market with pinpoint accuracy.

Patients who feel that their health providers are giving them exactly why they want will be much more inclined to continue receiving services from that organization over the long run, rather than going to another clinic. Firms interested in learning more about the untapped potential of data analytics should contact Altair Data Resources today. 

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