Perhaps no other industry is as important, or as complicated, as healthcare. Between patients, providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, insurance companies, regulatory bodies, and a host of other stakeholders, the sheer volume and disparity of data flowing through this ecosystem is as complex as it can get.

However, buried within that complexity is a treasure trove of insight, hidden in the correlations between different data types (e.g., patient diagnostic data, historical aggregated data, machine-generated sensor data, unstructured text-based data, etc.) and just waiting to be discovered.

Advanced BI / analytics technologies can be used to mine this data on a granular level to provide more targeted, individualized treatment for patients. High-risk patients could be identified by detecting specific elements related to their conditions, reducing the chance of readmission. Resource management could be enhanced so hospitals have the precise number of beds and staff members necessary to meet the needs of their patients and operating rooms. Wait times could be reduced, over- and under-staffing could be eliminated, and costs could be decreased significantly.

Unfortunately, Aberdeen’s research reveals that several barriers still prevent healthcare organizations from fully taking advantage of these emerging data-related technologies.

Barriers to Efficient Data Utilization

While the top barrier to investment is cost, this is certainly not the only obstacle, as we can see below:

healthcare chart

Healthcare is such a wide-ranging, idiosyncratic industry that healthcare organizations tend to be more inclined to create their own homegrown applications and systems. While these systems can be effective at meeting the specific needs of the organization at hand, they can also be heavily taxing on the internal staff when it comes to management and ongoing maintenance.

Healthcare organizations also struggle with the same data management challenges that all industries are facing today. The average healthcare organization is managing data from nine disparate sources, and often many more than that. At any hospital or healthcare provider, the clinical staff (e.g., physicians and nurses) are arguably the most critical decision makers and have the strictest requirements regarding data quality and timeliness. However, achieving a satisfactory level of technology adoption is difficult enough on its own; it’s even further exacerbated by a lack of quality, trustworthy data underlying these systems.

The Good News

Aberdeen’s HealthTech 2017 survey shows that only 44% of healthcare providers have a formal strategy or technology platform in place for BI / analytics. That isn’t surprising given that these technologies as frequently viewed as costly and burdensome, but it does reveal a major opportunity.

Healthcare organizations that have taken steps to implement advanced BI / analytics—particularly those that have made the capabilities available to multiple decision makers in the organization beyond just IT–are achieving tangible operational benefits by being able to access a broader variety of data and deliver information more rapidly and efficiently.

To learn more about the benefits these forward-looking healthcare organizations—and, most importantly, their patients—are enjoying by applying advanced analytics and exploiting the insights discovered within their data, read Aberdeen’s report The Ills of Healthcare Data and the Healing Power of Analytics.