Analytics Outweighs Accountable Care, Population Health, ICD-10 as an IT Priority, say Health System Execs

A new survey of senior information technology executives at some of the nation’s largest health systems reveals that their top priority for IT infrastructure investment is analytics – a technology that is central to achieving the systematic quality improvements and cost reductions required by healthcare reform.

Health Catalyst surveyed members of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), all chief information officers (CIOs) or other senior IT executives of US healthcare organizations. Survey respondents provided a high-level view of the many competing priorities for IT investment that hospital leaders face in the era of “value-based care” – a term describing elements of the Affordable Care Act as well as private industry incentives that reward providers for improving their patients’ health.

Most experts agree that value-based care will require hospitals to use sophisticated analytics to comb through terabytes of clinical and financial data to reveal actionable opportunities for improving quality and efficiency. The survey’s findings confirm that view, with 54 percent of respondents rating analytics as their highest IT priority, followed by investments in population health initiatives (42 percent), ICD-10 (30 percent), accountable care/shared risk initiatives (29 percent), and consolidation-related investments (11 percent).

importance of the IT infrastructure investments

“CHIME members serve in the front lines of a healthcare industry confronted by the most significant challenges in its history, and their focus on analytics as a key solution to those challenges is confirmation of the technology’s importance,” said Dan Burton, CEO of Health Catalyst. “In fact, analytics is a prerequisite for all of the major initiatives currently underway to address value-based care. Once organizations have all of their data warehoused and accessible, analytics is the core tool to help them make sense of the data and put it to work.”

Population health tops list of analytical drivers

When asked to rate the importance of healthcare trends accelerating the adoption of analytics, survey takers ranked population health management highest at 84 percent, followed by quality improvement (79 percent) and accountable care (68 percent). Other important initiatives ranked by survey takers included the need for cost reduction (63 percent), for a “single version of the truth” (59 percent), for better reporting (54 percent), and for research (17 percent).

trends important enough to noticeably accelerate the adoption of analytics in organizationMore than 90 percent of respondents said analytics will be “extremely important” or “very important” to their organization within the next 1-3 years, when a combination of government standards and market pressures will force many of these issues to the forefront.

importance of analytics in organization in the 1-3 years

Lack of analytics expertise and resources limits adoption

When asked to rank the biggest obstacles to their adoption of analytics, survey takers ranked highest a lack of analytics expertise and resources to adopt the technology.  Not surprisingly, the next biggest obstacle to analytics adoption was the large number of other IT priorities facing healthcare IT executives.

Biggest obstacle to accelerating the adoption of analyticsThe survey, hosted by CHIME, was conducted between July and September, 2014 and represents the opinions of nearly 70 healthcare IT executives.

Upcoming conference features analytics best practices

The Healthcare Analytics Summit 2014 (HAS ‘14), powered by Health Catalyst, is the industry’s first conference devoted exclusively to providing immersive learning experiences on the topic of healthcare analytics. National experts in analytics from a variety of fields will meet Sept. 24-25 at the Grand American Hotel in Salt Lake City, immersing participants in a unique, analytics-driven experience, accelerating their ability to apply analytics best practices within their own organizations.

Keynote speakers at HAS ’14 include:

Click here to register now or copy and paste this URL into your browser:

About Health Catalyst

Health Catalyst is a mission-driven data warehousing and analytics company that helps healthcare organizations of all sizes perform the clinical, financial, and operational reporting and analysis needed for population health and accountable care. Our proven enterprise data warehouse (EDW) and analytics platform helps improve quality, add efficiency and lower costs in support of more than 30 million patients for organizations ranging from the largest US health system to forward-thinking physician practices. Faster and more agile than data warehouses from other industries, the Health Catalyst Late-Binding™ EDW has been heralded by KLAS as a “newer and more effective way to approach EDW.” For more information, visit, and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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