TEKsystems, a provider of IT staffing solutions, IT talent management expertise and IT services, releases the results of a survey that explored the current state of business intelligence (BI) system deployments among healthcare organizations. The research, released in advance of HIMSS14, explores many of the concepts serving as central themes to the annual event, including clinical analytics and BI, as well as data interoperability. Despite the acknowledged benefits that healthcare organizations would realize, the study finds that the vast majority have yet to implement a BI system.
The survey, conducted on behalf of TEKsystems’ Healthcare Services division, represents views of more than 250 healthcare professionals, including senior-level health IT executives and medical staff such as CIOs, directors of information systems and clinical informatics, physicians, and chief nursing officers. Respondents represent a wide cross section of healthcare organizations including hospitals, medical clinics, ambulatory care centers and integrated delivery systems.
Key highlights from the survey include:
Business Intelligence System Implementation Lags
- More than half of all healthcare organizations have yet to implement a BI system. Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed indicated that their organization has not implemented a BI system. This number is includes the 36 percent that simply do not have a BI system, 15 percent that do not have such a system but plan to implement one in the next 12 to 24 months and 7 percent that have a BI system but have yet to implement it. Forty-two percent of respondents have implemented and are currently using a BI system.
- Finance, operations and clinical care top areas for planned use. Nearly three-quarters of respondents indicated they expected a BI system to be widely used in finance (76 percent), operations (75 percent) and clinical care (71 percent). Interestingly, about half (53 percent), expected it to be widely used for compliance.
Data Complexity and Lack of Skills Cited as Top Challenges
- More than one-third report that data complexity poses the greatest challenge. Thirty-four percent indicated that data complexity was the top obstacle to reaching their goal of implementing a BI system. Within the data complexity category, respondents identified the most painful aspects as lack of a standardized data structure (34 percent), analysis requirements (24 percent), and disparate systems and lack of interoperability (23 percent).
- Nearly as many cite lack of resources and skills as top obstacle. Thirty-two percent of respondents believe that the biggest threat to implementation is a lack of skills and resources. Of this group, the reasons most mentioned for this deficiency include lack of internal and external resources and experts (45 percent), commitment of resources to other technology programs (25 percent) and lack of strategic workforce planning expertise (12 percent).
Data Completeness and Availability Top Goal for Business Intelligence Initiatives
- Need for data top goal by far. Forty-eight percent of respondents cite improvement of data availability and completeness as one of the top three goals for their BI system implementation.
- Other top goals include patient care and payment processes. Other top cited goals include better connection of patient treatments to medical outcomes (37 percent), optimization of reimbursements (34 percent) and meeting pay-for-performance standards (32 percent).
Data IT Expertise Will Present Greatest Hiring Challenge
- Data architects and analysts most difficult to find. Eighty-six percent of respondents believe that data architects will be the most difficult role to fill when looking for BI implementation skill sets. Other skill sets that will be difficult to secure include those of data analysts (84 percent), business analysts (81 percent) and software developers (80 percent).
- Organizations are taking a multipronged approach to addressing staffing challenges. Tactics include consultation with outside vendors (43 percent), using the software vendor’s consulting services (36 percent), hiring permanent staff to support the implementation (35 percent) and hiring contingent labor to support implementation (30 percent).
“Though there’s consensus among healthcare organizations on the benefits to be derived from BI systems, the reality is that there is a long road ahead for implementation,” says TEKsystems vice president of healthcare services Allen Kriete. “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.”