Analytics Tops Health Execs' IT Priority List

A newly released survey shows senior healthcare information technology (IT) executives view analytics as their most pressing IT need.

A newly released survey shows senior healthcare information technology (IT) executives view analytics as their most pressing IT need.

The survey, by the data and analytics firm Health Catalyst, found 54% of responding IT executives listed analytics as their highest priority. Top priorities after analytics were population health initiatives 42%, ICD-10 investments (30%), accountable care/shared risk initiatives (29%) and consolidation-related investments (11%).

The survey was conducted among nearly 70 members of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), a group of US chief information officers and senior IT executives.

Dan Burton, Health Catalyst’s CEO, said IT executives find themselves on the “front lines” of a massive shift in the nation’s healthcare industry.

“[A]nd their focus on analytics as a key solution to those challenges is confirmation of the technology’s importance,” he said, in a press release. “In fact, analytics is a prerequisite for all of the major initiatives currently underway to address value-based care. Once organizations have all their data warehoused and accessible, analytics is the core tool to help them make sense of the data and put it to work.”

Respondents were also asked to rank the trends driving their move toward analytics. Population health management came out on top, followed by quality improvement and accountable care.

However, that drive is curbed somewhat by a lack of expertise, a lack of resources, and the bevy of other technological priorities emerging in the Obamacare era, the survey found.

The concern over lack of resources echoes a survey released back in February by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. In that survey, 19% of hospital executives said lack of financial resources was a barrier to adopting new information technology initiatives, even though two-thirds of respondents said their budgets had increased in the past year. Another 18% said lack of staff was a problem.