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Analytics was a buzzword at HIMSS, but only half of hospitals are taking advantage

Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | March 04, 2019
Health IT
Analytics was one of the most discussed topics at HIMSS 2019, with more than 194 exhibitors and at least 84 education sessions, however, use of analytics to lower costs and improve care is still not widespread among hospitals in the U.S., according to a recent webinar on HIMSS trends hosted by Definitive Healthcare.

Maggy Tieché, senior manager of market analysis for Definitive Healthcare, which recently acquired HIMSS Analytics' Data Services, focused during the webinar on analytics, which was a big draw for more than 45,000 attendees who traveled to Orlando for the conference.

Despite the popularity surrounding the topic – which outshined artificial intelligence and interoperability/health information exchange (HIE) – nearly half of U.S. healthcare organizations have not adopted business analytics technologies, Tieché said.

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Education sessions around analytics stressed the importance of physician buy-in and making sure different departments work together to use data to make changes and see results.

"This starts from thinking more in terms of data – how to interpret it, collect it and store it – but also how to fully use it to make an impact," Tieché said. "What I really heard in the sessions is how the technology and data leaders really have to stress that importance of the processes, and the groups have to come together to create meaningful utilization of the results to ultimately help provide better care at a lower cost."

Tieché said that because of the high cost of these analytics solutions, a space dominated by major technology companies like Epic and Cerner, providers need to tell the story of how they got physician buy-in and used analytics to reduce spending without sacrificing quality of care.

For example, during one education session, executives at Memorial Hermann Health System spoke about how it used analytics to reduce unnecessary tests and hospital stays.

"Each IT solution needs to be vetted and proven and have some of those solid use cases before organizations can consider adopting it," Tieché said.

During HIMSS, HCB News spoke with executives from Chicago's Rush University Medical Center/Rush Health, a clinically integrated network of four hospitals and 1,500 providers, about how it used advanced analytics from SCIO Health Analytics to improve how it manages Medicare risk in the transition to value-⁠based care.

The organization made sure that doctors showed the full scope of a patient's health, including comorbidities, and not just the primary problem they are treating, when seeking outcomes-based reimbursement.

Through this, the organization achieved a revenue increase of $2,300 per patient, increased its expected Medicare Mortality Risk by 47 percent, cut its hospital readmission program penalty by more than half, bringing it under $500,000, and turned its net pay-⁠for-⁠performance from a penalty in 2016 to a bonus of $474,000.

"This comorbidity capture and how it intersects with quality has been a huge focus," Dr. Bala Hota, Rush's chief analytics officer, told HCB News. "Another is, how do we take the information from the EMR and digest it into a story that we can then give to our providers so that we can have the right ingredients for change? SCIO has really been helping with that, telling the story of the data and then arming us with dashboards that we can use to inspire change in our providers."

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