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Analysis

EHR Top Priority When Developing Value-Based IT Competencies

By Jonathan Bees  
   July 05, 2018

Having a seamlessly integrated EHR environment is one of the keys to successfully implementing value-based care at healthcare organizations.

Providers are especially focused on EHR capabilities as they work to improve their IT competencies in preparation for value-based care, given the critical role the EHR plays within healthcare organizations.

According to the 2018 HealthLeaders Media Value-Based Readiness Survey, for example, the top three IT competency items are all EHR related: enhancing provider efficiency through EHR usability (57%), EHR standardization among care partners (49%), and EHR interoperability (46%).

Having a seamlessly integrated EHR environment is one of the keys to successfully implementing value-based care, and it is no surprise that providers are concentrating on this area.

Interestingly, one area that receives a low response from respondents is prescriptive analytics (19%).

This year’s survey response is 14 percentage points lower than in last year’s survey, a somewhat unexpected result given the industry’s typically strong interest in analytics.

Providers are expected to increase their focus on developing skills and investing in advanced forms of analytics as they make a greater commitment to value-based care.

Survey results also indicate that the respondent commitment to developing EHR competencies to prepare for value-based care is starting to produce results.

For example, 64% of respondents say that EHR standardization among care partners is very strong (22%) or somewhat strong (42%), and 62% say that enhancing provider efficiency through EHR usability is very strong (11%) or somewhat strong (51%). Completing the list of top three areas, 59% of respondents say that their EHR interoperability is very strong (19%) or somewhat strong (40%).

Weakest areas

IT areas such as staff actuarial skills for financial risk assessment and prescriptive analytics are assessed by respondents as the weakest areas.

For example, 70% of respondents say that staff actuarial skills for financial risk assessment is very weak (28%) or somewhat weak (42%), and 66% say that prescriptive analytics is very weak (20%) or somewhat weak (46%).

“I think the first thing that providers are doing are the things that are the most obvious, such as care coordination, care teams, standardization of clinical practice, things that for a clinician are normal practice,” says Karen Hanlon, CPA, executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer at Highmark Health.

Based in Pittsburgh, Highmark Health has a diversified portfolio of businesses, including Highmark Inc., a Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliate, and Allegheny Health Network, a health system that features eight hospitals.

“When you get to analytics, I think that you need a team that has a very different skill set, and you have to be willing to invest in it. And you probably also have to have some alignment with a payer so that you're able to leverage their data and any insights that come from the connection of payer and provider data,” says Hanlon.

Jonathan Bees is the senior research analyst at HealthLeaders Media.


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