When you engage in any discussion about Analytics, chances are you will hear many phrases all intended to mean the same thing – Analytics, Business Intelligence, Clinical Intelligence, Population Health, et al And while most do intend to mean the same thing, they are in fact subtly different – and those dealing with data know that can be significant at times.
The term becoming the standard is “Analytics” – meaning the measurement and monitoring of performance metrics for ongoing quality assurance and improvement, influencing decisions real-time and predicatively, and improving outcomes. Business and Clinical Intelligence are both subsets of Analytics as are factions focused on quality, regulatory reporting and financial metrics.
It is important to distinguish Analytics from Population Health, however, in that the latter is really a combination of using data, systems and resources to manage the health and outcomes of defined populations in the context of social, and behavioral determinants. As such, analytics supports a population health initiative but is not representative of the entire process. The same is true for Patient Engagement which is a means of enhancing patients’ participation in their medical care and health management through access to information, enhanced communication and shared decision making. Analytics can provide insight to appropriate patient outreach.
Lastly, Health Information Exchange (HIE) is often paired with Analytics as a way of acquiring and sharing the various data elements needed to do analysis.
The industry generally recognizes three types of Analytics: Descriptive, Predictive and Prescriptive.
Descriptive Analytics analyze historical data & past events to gain insight behind past failure or success. Analysis is usually performed using standard reporting and query/drill down. Some factions also reference but “Diagnostic Analytics”, however, the two are usually consolidated to explain what happened and why.
Predictive Analytics use data mining, machine learning and predictive modeling techniques to determine the probable future outcome of an event or a likelihood of a situation occurring, leading to guided decision making. These processes are intended to provide insight into what will happen going forward.
Lastly, Prescriptive Analytics go beyond predicting future outcomes to suggest alternative actions to benefit from the predictions and show the implications of each decision option for optimized decision making. This is the most advanced form of analysis and is used to help an organization understand how they can make an outcome happen.
As an organization matures its analytics capabilities, it advances in its use from descriptive to prescriptive analysis.
Analytics Capabilities Evolution
In order to get a fuller understanding of analytics maturity, it helps to understand the capabilities that become apparent at each level as each layer supports the success of the next. Impact Advisors assesses analytics programs on their ability to incorporate its Foundational, Operational and Optimizational capabilities.
Foundational capabilities include what many term “the basics” – a means to get data, group like items, and verify the integrity of the data being analyzed. It is possible to attempt operational and optimizational functions without these elements, however, it quickly becomes difficult to sustain.
Health Information Exchange (HIE), as referenced above, facilitates access to and aggregation and/or management of operational, financial, and clinical data to enable efficient and effective care and services. Analytics is entirely dependent upon its ability to access data in a secure and timely fashion.
The most important element of any successful analytics program, however, are data management activities. Data integrity makes-or-breaks a program. Therefore, organizations must commit to data governance assuring the correct use of data sources and abiding by strict standards to assure data quality.
A firm foundation serves to support operational analysis where an organization can start to dependably produce operational metrics for utilization and performance. Predictive analytics at this stage provide insight to workflow analysis and cost modeling. Prescriptive analytics can then support optimizing an organizational performance with population health insight, care and risk management, and patient engagement activities.
Healthcare Analytics Today
As we look to the market, we are able to confirm the industry is indeed adopting and expanding its use of analytics to support key organizational initiatives. Nearly 83% of healthcare organizations report having an analytics strategy with half of them having at least three tools in place to support their efforts. That said, a survey of College of Health Information Management Executives (CHIME) respondents acknowledge that it is a big challenge due to data accessibility and integrity, staff skill sets, and being able to prove the return on investment.
Traditionally, healthcare has not effectively used the data it has – mostly due to the numerous sources of data and the challenges of data quality and availability. Amongst the hype of “big data”, the industry is focused on turnkey solutions that can support analysis over the full continuum of care. Organizations want insight into their clinical, operational and claims data so they can improve quality and outcomes. And more so, they want it to be easy for everyone in the organization to use: executives, clinicians, front line managers, and more. Dashboards with drill down capabilities are a top priority to provide insight at the point of care and in the boardroom.
Impact Advisors Analytics Service Offering
IA Analytics supports organizations from assessment to optimization. We work with our clients to understand their capabilities, industry demands, and vendor product offerings and then help them design a program to meet their objectives including establishing governance and sponsorship. We facilitate system selection and implementation, help set policy for prioritization and processes, and set ongoing process improvement. Learn more about how we can help you!