By Kathy Sucich, director of healthcare marketing, Dimensional Insight.
According to a new survey fielded by Definitive Healthcare and sponsored by Dimensional Insight, 90% of hospitals and health systems use the analytics component of their electronic health records (EHRs), with 49% using it exclusively or primarily for analytics. With such widespread use, the technology must be meeting the needs of hospitals and health systems, right?
The survey data shows that despite the fact that many hospitals are using EHR analytics, they are also challenged by the technology and give it middling rates when it comes to satisfaction. Let’s look at the survey results in more detail and examine where hospitals and health systems go from here.
Hospitals not highly satisfied with EHR analytics
The survey interviewed 108 healthcare leaders on their experience with EHR analytics. It also asked about their experience with analytics-specific platforms and in-house solutions to serve as a comparison point.
Overall, leaders ranked their satisfaction with EHR analytics as a 5.58 (on a scale of 0-10 with 0 being “extremely dissatisfied” and 10 being “extremely satisfied”). In-house solutions received a satisfaction score of 6.51 (17% higher) and analytics-specific platforms received a score of 6.69 (20% higher).
Leaders feel challenged by technology aspects of EHR analytics. For organizations that are using EHR analytics as their primary analytics tool, they feel challenged by:
- The reporting and querying is difficult/slow (43.4%)
- The component is not robust or advanced enough (35.8%)
- Interoperability (30.2%)
- Lack of visualization (28.3%)
- User interface is difficult to understand/use (26.4%)
Those that are not using EHR analytics cite similar technology challenges as the reason they are not using the component.
While many of the same challenges are present for users of analytics-specific platforms or in-house solutions, cost is notably more of a challenge for them (+22% from EHR analytics users), while the robustness or advancement is notably less of a challenge (-20% from EHR analytics users).
The benefits of an analytics-specific platform
The survey revealed that organizations that use an analytics-specific platform in any manner have the highest level of analytical advancement, scoring a 6.89 (on a scale of 0-10 where 0 represents “minimal use” and 10 represents “advanced use”). Users of in-house solutions scored a 6.70 and EHR analytics users scored a 6.77.
In addition, those that don’t currently use an analytics-specific platform to conduct and perform analytics within their EHR see the value of implementing one. On a scale of 0-10 where 0 represents “no value at all” and 10 represents “extremely valuable,” non-users ranked analytics-specific platforms at a 7.40, indicating they would find the technology very valuable.
How to extract value from EHR analytics
The reason that many hospitals and health systems feel challenged by EHR analytics is that these components were not designed by experts in analysis. Because an EHR company’s development efforts will be primarily focused on improving the EHR itself, the analytics component will not provide the robustness that most hospitals require to gain the right insights that, in turn, improve outcomes.
That’s why users of analytics-specific platforms or even in-house solutions report greater satisfaction levels. They are using technology that was designed by experts who know how to extract value from data.
While some healthcare leaders may balk at the cost of investing in an analytics-specific platform – especially after investing millions in an EHR platform – users are reporting it provides them with the highest levels of satisfaction and value. With help from the right analytics vendor, that value can pay itself back many times over in the form of reduced costs, improved insights, and better patient outcomes.