How will healthcare analytics evolve in the next five years?

I recently learned that over half of all adult Americans and 80% of Americans age 18 to 34 own a smartphone.* Considering that the real onset of smartphone use didn’t begin until seven years ago when the first iPhone came out, the pace of adoption is staggering.

Healthcare analytics is poised for similar growth: providers now have massive amounts of electronic data and are ready to invest heavily in tools and make sense of it. Here is how the market is primed for dramatic growth:

1. EMR and Healthcare-Specific Vendors Are on the Rise

When people thought about healthcare BI a few years ago, some well-known cross-industry vendors such as SAP, IBM, or Oracle might have jumped into their minds first. But nowadays it has become harder and harder to tell which type of vendor has more market presence. With the increasing need for healthcare specificity from providers, vendors such as Optum (Humedica), Advisory Board, and Health Catalyst continue to gain mindshare, and EMR enterprise vendors have also upped their ante for being providers’ analytics partners. At the same time, cross-industry BI vendors are building healthcare analytics solution platforms to create data models with specific healthcare content and knowledge.

2. Usability Needed: ACO and Population Health

If you recall, KLAS’ BI report two years ago measured vendors’ impact on change from the standpoint of provider experiences. Knowledge dissemination and end-user adoption were the top-two factors for facilitating changes and driving results. Now usability is defined more by doing than knowing, and it has also become more clinically driven as providers have moved toward valued-based care and started to build strategies around population health analytics.

3. Business Users and Clinicians Want Empowerment

Years ago, hospitals might have thought of BI as a function mostly associated with finance and traditionally disseminated by the IT department. However, we have seen a shift to more decentralized end users, including business users and clinicians who want to feel more empowered to make real-time decisions. Hence, there is the increasing need for tools that promote self-service with great visualization, ease of use, and drill-ability. That might partially explain the stickiness of QlikTech and Tableau in healthcare.

So, can we expect more changes and a more exciting road ahead? ABSOLUTELY. My teammate Joe Van De Graaff, author of our latest BI report, “Analytics for Value-Based CareA NewParadigm,”will have a more in-depth blog discussion around this paradigm shift and the drivers behind it this Thursday, May 29th. 

Looking ahead, will we see more convergence in the functionality provided by cross-industry and healthcare-specific vendors? What about the big data generated by sociodemographic behaviors beyond the EMR? What about more in-depth understanding and analysis of operational and financial data combined with clinical data? These types of questions remind us that the healthcare BI market is only at the beginning of this data-driven journey and that perhaps it is ready to take off in the same way the smartphone market was seven years ago.

*Pew Internet and American Life Project, Smartphone Ownership 2013.

 

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