A study of provider perceptions of the business intelligence vendor field finds a lot of interest in the field but also confusion among health care providers.

Vendor research firm KLAS Enterprises interviewed executives at more than 70 hospitals or delivery systems with more than 200 beds. Asked which BI vendors will stand out in health care, 41 percent of respondents were unsure. Of the 59 percent responding, IBM, SAP, Microsoft and Oracle are perceived as the leaders in enterprise BI applications, with none getting more than 12 percent of the vote, explained Joe Van De Graaff, a KLAS research director, during Health Data Management’s Healthcare Analytics Symposium in Chicago.

Several vendors were recognized as health care-specific BI leaders, including Explorys, Health Catalyst, McKesson and Humedica (Optum). Respondents noted that IBM and Microsoft also have strong products for health care but high price tags as well. QlikTech and Tableau Software were noted for their usability and data visualization tools, but lacking in full BI tool sets.

The 51-page KLAS report mentions dozens of vendors, including enterprise and health care-specific firms, as well as electronic health records products with some BI capability.

“Business intelligence and analytics have never been more important to health care providers, and though the need for use of BI tools is likely to grow, the current widespread uncertainty in the market leaves most providers with unanswered questions on what vendor can best meet their needs,” KLAS contends in the report. “By nature, most standalone BI tools are designed to be vendor agnostic and usable with any data source systems, thus making for an array of options for providers, regardless of EMR or other systems.”

The report, “Business Intelligence Perception 2013: Who Will Lead the Fleet,” is available at klasresearch.com/reports. The cost is $980 for providers and $12,980 for non-providers.

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