The implementation of electronic health records (EHRs) dramatically transformed how healthcare organizations track and process vital patient information. However, despite heavy investment in this technology, the healthcare industry is now struggling to accommodate the rather strict limitations of EHRs. These limitations can have serious consequences for the overall efficiency and profitability of healthcare enterprises and can prevent them from achieving their overall strategic goals.
In order to actualize the potential of their data and increase both patient outcomes and ROI, hospitals have to integrate analytics solutions that are more robust than those provided as a component of EHR platforms. Dedicated enterprise analytics platforms are designed specifically to address the needs of the healthcare industry and feature a variety of tools to ensure reliable and consistent data governance across their entire organization.
Generally speaking, the analytic and governance capabilities of EHRs are built specifically around their own technical infrastructure. This means they are very limited in which types of information they’re able to integrate and typically neglect potentially valuable third-party channels.
In order to compensate for these restrictive measures, analysts often have to either rely on multiple disparate health technology systems or produce their own code. Without a central platform to integrate and consolidate different channels into a single version of the truth, organizations waste valuable time and resources trying to process and utilize their data.
Thankfully, one of the hallmarks of any enterprise analytics platform is seamless data integration. By implementing a comprehensive end-to-end solution to work in tandem with EHRs, organizations can consolidate available information from a multitude of different channels into one consistent and reliable source. This ensures that staff are working with a complete and single version of the truth and always have access to the information necessary for data-driven decision making.
Despite the mutual interest in population health and the interconnected nature of the industry, healthcare organizations often still struggle to exchange and make use of vital patient information. In many healthcare systems, unoptimized data sharing between different sources (such as inpatient vs. outpatient data, or ambulatory vs. clinical data) can lead to major setbacks, both financially and operationally. The lack of data standardization raises serious questions about data trust and often requires manual integration, wasting precious time and resources.
Furthermore, merging EHRs during acquisitions is exceptionally difficult without proper data consolidation. Such processes are already expensive and slow without the additional resource costs associated with manual integration.
By integrating data from multiple siloes into a form capable of being transmitted and assimilated by other providers, end-to-end analytics solutions can overcome many of the obstacles facing the healthcare industry. This ensures that administrators always have access to the data necessary to make important clinical, operational, and financial decisions. Furthermore, optimized interoperability can reduce many of the headaches that come with merging different organizations.
Accurate and up-to-date reporting
Unfortunately, many EHR vendors still rely on traditional models of batch loading for updating their systems, which usually occurs only at specific times of the day (often overnight). This means data can already be outdated by the time it’s available to those who need it and forcing healthcare administrators to use unreliable information in their decision-making.
Enterprise analytics platforms are invaluable due to their ability to support real-time data ingestion. This means that healthcare administrators have access to up-to-date information that accurately reflects the current status of their patients. Financial and operational functions operate on narrow time frames where even a day in setbacks can lead to serious additional costs.
Additionally, dedicated analytics platforms have built-in automation features that eliminate much of the manpower required to constantly update and manage patient data. This significantly reduces the time and resources providers have to spend on paperwork and also addresses many of the issues that arise due to human-error in manual entry.
Wide range of use and applications
Healthcare systems are comprised of many departments that all rely on using patient-centered information to facilitate their operations. EHRs, while useful in governing basic activities like patient registries and care management, have severely constricted uses when it comes to other important roles and functions. Furthermore, the outdated data infrastructure of EHRs is only supported by a limited number of other third-party reporting platforms.
The wide variety of reporting demands in healthcare means providers need a solution that can address their needs across the entire organization. Thankfully, analytics platforms possess the tools required to support data management in a wide variety of functions, including:
- Revenue cycle management
- Strategic initiatives
- Supply-chain optimization
- Patient outcomes
End-to-end analytics also address the data reporting process from integration to visualization, providing organizations with the tools necessary to easily and quicky use their data in their decision making.
The interconnected nature of healthcare means clinical outcomes go far beyond the individual patient, with patient information playing an important role at every level of operation. Because population health data is used in guiding overarching business strategies, organizations need an analytics platform that promotes data democracy all the way from frontline workers to executive administrators.
So what now?
In order to take their EHR utilization to the next level, hospitals need to understand what their current limitations are and how analytics can help overcome them. Once these criteria have been met, healthcare executives can evaluate which platforms are best suited for addressing their specific needs. To learn more about how analytics can help with your EHR strategy, check out our white paper—”How to Accelerate EHR Insights with an Enterprise Analytics Platform.”
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