Report: Data Analytics Crucial for Population Health, ACOs


Data analytics is critical for population health management and the success of accountable care organizations, according to a report released by the Institute of Health Technology Transformation, HIT Consultant reports.

The report -- titled, "Analytics: The Nervous System of IT-Enabled Healthcare" -- aims to help executives from hospitals and other health care organizations identify and understand innovative ways of using data to improve care and reduce costs.

Report Findings

According to the report:

  • 80% of electronic health data collected is said to be unstructured;
  • 33% of health care organizations use business intelligence tools; and
  • 30% of U.S. hospitals use a clinical data warehousing or mining tool, according to data pulled from HIMSS Analytics -- the research arm of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (Pennic, HIT Consultant, 5/16).

Critical Factors for Data Analytics

The report acknowledged that there is "no single roadmap to achieving analytics excellence" but cited several critical steps for the success of health data analytics, including:

  • Building partnerships with health plans to obtain claims data;
  • Identifying the care gaps of all patients and providing steps to close them;
  • Categorizing patients based on their health risks so care teams can intervene with high-risk patients who generate the majority of health costs; and
  • Preparing physicians for big changes in how they practice.


The report listed several recommendations for health care providers, including:

  • Constructing a data warehouse that is the single source for all information aggregated at the organization;
  • Tracking process data, such as patient outreach efforts;
  • Changing the analytic perspective from episode-based or procedure-based analyses to patient-based and population-based analyses;
  • Ensuring that data are accurate and available in real time;
  • Integrating claims and administrative data with clinical data from electronic health records to provide a complete view of patient care; and
  • Realizing the process of integrating data analytics will take time (Walsh, Clinical Innovation & Technology, 5/15).

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