A large number of provider organizations conducting data analytics are doing so via their electronic health records systems and finding a moderate level of satisfaction with analytics and reporting tools in their EHRs. In fact, use of EHRs or best-of-breed analytics software get the same rating—6 on a 10-point scale—according to analyses and survey results from HIMSS Analytics.

The firm assessed the provider analytics field in 2013 and recently completed an updated study to chart the landscape in 2015. A core finding from the new study, which included analyzing the HIMSS Analytics data warehouse as well as results from a survey of 189 healthcare organization stakeholders, found a six percent increase over two years in adoption of clinical and business intelligence solutions. Nearly 80 of respondents were at the manager, director or C-levels.

That six percent isn’t a lot, but shows that providers have noticed the need for analytics and investments will continue to grow, says Brendan FitzGerald, research director at HIMSS Analytics.

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Rather than offering canned reports as in the past, EHR vendors have gotten better at learning what data needs to be captured, reported and analyzed, FitzGerald adds. Today’s EHRs generally better support customized reporting for quality measures and assessing the cost of surgery from patient records, among other factors.

Still, many providers aren’t yet ready to really pull the trigger. Asked if they have plans to purchase clinical and business intelligence tools in the future, 10 percent of respondents in 2015 said yes, compared with eight percent in 2015. Fifty-one percent of respondents were unsure of plans for further investment.

Many respondents are happy with their present tools, but those planning to invest are looking at best-of-breed vendors, according to FitzGerald. But there also is potential for hybrid programs that include the EHR, a data warehouse and standalone tools.

More information on the HIMSS Analytics report, “Clinical & Business Intelligence Study,” is available here. An Essentials Brief is available to providers for free.

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