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Data Analytics Utilization 'Negligible' Among 80% of Healthcare Orgs

Analysis  |  By Jack O'Brien  
   January 15, 2020

More hospital leaders have access to healthcare data analytics than in years past but most don't use them.

Eighty percent of healthcare leaders said their use of data analytics for decision-making and strategic planning is "negligible," according to a Black Book survey released this week.

The research found that 95% of hospitals and physician group executives have access to data analytics applications, up 32% since 2016, but most don't utilize these decision-making tools.

Eighty-four percent of C-suite officers at provider organizations reported that the only used data analytics to a "limited or minimal extent."

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Health system CFOs who were surveyed expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of data analytics at their respective organizations.

Fifteen percent reported that analytics assisted in financial forecasting or decision-making while 6% overbought data tools without budgeting for additional costs to accomplish more.

Black Book estimated that 90% of data in provider organizations goes unutilized and 78% of staff-level employees who were surveyed said that most leaders rely on "superficial analyses to retroactively justify decisions they have already made."

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Meanwhile, 65% of hospital managers with available analytic applications said they did not use advanced analytics within one year of the survey. Leaders cited a lack of strategic direction, financial resources, training, and the absence of internal data scientists. 

"The accessibility of integrated data and the surge of new technologies, which empower providers to analyze data more comprehensively, allow every healthcare manager to make strategic decisions and costs implications and measure goal progress analytics," Doug Brown, president of Black Book, said in a statement.

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Black Book also found that 77% of health systems lack a clear analytics strategy, though 89% of hospital executives plan on increasing the financial investment in analytical software in 2020. 

More than three-quarters of margin positive health systems plan to engage a consultant to update their data analytics strategy, as opposed to only 14% of margin negative health systems which plan to do the same.

Jack O'Brien is the Content Team Lead and Finance Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

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