Ready and deep. These two words sum up the power that analytics tools bring for the healthcare sector. The surge in expectations around data safety, privacy, and regulatory compliance pressures had already created a huge need for this technology in healthcare. As patients and caregivers have limited time: the ability to collect, store, and process data becomes more important. For most healthcare enterprises and professionals, critical data insights can mean the difference between wasted efforts and impact, between high costs and good profitability
, or lengthy treatments and happy patient
However, effectively utilizing analytical tools in healthcare is difficult. Some major challenges stand in the face of today’s technologies such as:
- Privacy and security of healthcare data
Regulations across the industry are stringent in almost every market across the world. The red tape makes it insufficient to archive the data as per the prescribed rules. Healthcare companies have to follow various requirements on data confidentiality, movement, third-party usage, documentation, flow, life cycle, etc. therefore, they need analytics tools that can serve these limitations well by meeting the expectations of both patients and regulators. They should also allow doctors and industry professionals to use the data in a smart but responsible way.
- Data stewardship
Data originates across various places in a patient’s journey. It is hard to designate a steward when the space is so fragmented and it’s a tough challenge to acquire and maintain the role of a data steward. However, if analytics interferes with this role or complicates it, analytics tools may not be a good investment. Analytics tools should make this process simple. They should and empower stewards, rather than weaken or confuse them.
- Data silos
Islands of information exist even today. Earlier, companies had limited access to data sources. Now, this broken nature of data has also become worse with its presence across too many digital devices, consumerization of technology and different types of applications in use. Due to the fragments that data is locked in, it fails to become compact and actionable. Thus, most healthcare enterprises find it difficult to integrate digital sources with clinical and operational workflows. Sometimes, even within an enterprise, the number of applications and departments are too large to control. The difficulty that follows when attempting to share data across the industry leads to chaos. How can the industry players collaborate on time-sensitive projects when data is scattered in multiple pockets and speaks many languages?
- Data visualization
Today it is easier to collect data from many sources. However, most tools fail to deliver the end-result of visualization. What use is any data, if the decision-maker fails to act on it at the crucial moment of a business event? Only tools that empower decision-makers with visualization can help in utilizing the data to its fullest extent . For example, doctors and caregivers can use patient data to leverage a positive health/business outcome. Without the ability to see patient data, they would not be able to visualize outcomes to many of the problems they face and all their hard work and money spent on collecting data goes to waste.
- Keeping data updated
It is hard to argue why healthcare data, in particular, needs to be updated. One error or one missing piece of information can cost a life here. It is hard to understand why healthcare data is not consistently updated, especially when one error or missing information can cost a life. Furthermore, wearables and consumer devices have created more avenues and needs. The tools should be able to update and integrate data from all sources seamlessly. Unfortunately, healthcare data is not updated consistently, but incorporating more data analytics within the healthcare industry would be a significant help.
A Black Book survey of 748 provider organizations unearthed something interesting. The utilization of advanced analytics came up as ‘negligible’ by nearly 80 per cent of respondents. About 84 per cent of the C-suite execs and board members expressed that their health systems only used analytics to a limited extent to generate revenue or outcome insights. It is a cause of concern if just 15 per cent show any meaningful use of financial forecasting and strategic planning.
Choosing the right data analytics services provider is key to harnessing the power of healthcare data. At Orasi Analytics, we have helped a major Atlanta primary care provider optimize revenue and improve the patient experience with analytics.
Healthcare players should exercise extra prudence in picking analytics solutions providers. Consider the above challenges before investing into healthcare analytics.