As we transition to 2022 and look to the future, healthcare organizations must reflect on the trends of the passing year to better understand the direction that the industry is headed. Especially with the substantial changes prompted by the onset of COVID-19, many of these trends will have enduring implications for the healthcare industry for years to come.
In their recent release of The State of BI, Data, and Analytics in Healthcare in 2021 Research Insight, Dresner Advisory Services dives into some of the biggest developments in healthcare analytics of the past year. Success in the future requires that businesses be diligent now about the current trends driving healthcare technology.
More data-driven than other industries
Due to the implications that proper decision-making has when it comes to patient health, it’s not particularly surprising that healthcare places a great emphasis on proper data usage than other industries. When human lives are on the line, there is no room for guesswork or mistakes.
According to the research insight, overall technology adoption and data literacy in healthcare exceeds other industries. Additionally, although the application of business intelligence in decision-making was already wide-spread within the industry leading up to the pandemic, the emergence of COVID-19 fueled major advances in how data was utilized in achieving outcomes.
Dresner found that analytics saw increased use at other functional levels, especially in operations and finance. Organizations made significant investments into streamlining claims processing and ensuring that hospitals had sufficient resources to properly care for the sudden increase in patient-load.
Leadership advocacy is key
In most organizations, support for data-driven results usually starts at the top. In order to establish an environment where data is used in decision-making, senior management have to demonstrate their own trust and reliance on the data first. Implementing an executive role with decision-making abilities across multiple functions who can advocate for the application of data-driven results can encourage its use within other employees.
With this in mind, surprisingly few healthcare organizations actually possess a chief data officer (CDO) or chief administrative officer (CAO). According to Dresner, 77 percent of healthcare organizations lack a CDO, and 87 percent lack a CAO. Many healthcare organizations would benefit from working towards establishing a dedicated administrator responsible for managing and incorporating analytics within their company.
Soft factors enable BI success
Although business intelligence itself is a technology, many of the elements responsible for its successful implementation are in fact soft factors. On top of support from upper leadership, Dresner found that success with business intelligence relies on a data-friendly work environment and good communication and collaboration.
One of the greatest obstacles to the successful implementation of analytics is garnering trust for the data and encouraging staff to use it in their day-to-day decision-making. Healthcare users are slow to adopt analytics for a variety of reasons, which can be anything from an aversion to unfamiliar technology to a workforce that is hesitant to share data between different departments or even other physicians.
Data-literacy programs can be implemented by organizations to encourage the use of data in decision-making and support better data governance. Better data governance within a single function or team can have wide-reaching implications for the organization as a whole and in turn enable other departments to make more informed decisions.
Enterprise-wide data initiatives
Due to the high-stakes nature of the healthcare industry, healthcare organizations place particularly high emphasis on pursuing BI initiatives. According to Dresner, healthcare prioritizes all BI objectives higher than other industries, especially when it comes to decision making and improving operational efficiency.
Furthermore, Dresner also found that healthcare’s greatest difference from all other industries is their use of BI in achieving regulatory compliance, which is likely due to HIPAA and patient data-privacy requirements. Healthcare faces much stricter data reporting requirements compared to other industries and as a result exhibits a greater dependence on sophisticated and advanced BI tools.
The unique circumstances of the healthcare industry means hospitals and other providers have novel challenges that require their own specialized approach. Making the most of your organization’s BI is all about having the right mindset and the right tools. To learn more about the top healthcare BI trends of 2021, check out Dresner’s full research insight here.
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