Health Analytics Efforts Exploding Among Health Systems

Surprising absolutely no one, new research suggests that health systems have greatly stepped up their investment in and use of healthcare analytics technology over the past few years. What is surprising is that it’s grown even faster than expected.

In late 2018 the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions questioned 56 chief analytics officers, CIOs and CTOs within healthcare organizations about their Involvement with analytics for clinical, operational and financial functions. This research followed up on a survey they conducted in 2015 on the same topic.

According to a new report, Deloitte had estimated the global health care analytics market at $4 billion to $5 billion in 2015, but now pegs it at closer to $15 billion, and expect it to grow to over $50 billion by 2024.

These estimates, of course, are driven by some serious commitments by health systems. In short, health IT leaders seem to have become much more interested in using analytics tools over the last few years.

For example, more health IT leaders have defined analytics strategies and visions in place (70% in 2018 vs. 40% in 2015), created dedicated analytics departments (88% vs. 76%) and deployed centralized governance models (68% vs. 58%). In addition, healthcare organizations are more likely now to have a C-suite role focused on analytics, with 30% having a chief analytics officer in 2018 vs. 12% in 2015.

Not only that, respondents seem to think that analytics technology will play an even more central role in the future. The number of executives stating that analytics will be extremely important for their organization’s strategies in three years was 84%, compared with 36% who said that analytics was extremely important today.

Not surprisingly, respondents expect to do some hiring to support these efforts, including data scientists (29%), visualization designers (21%) and data architects (21%). To support future growth, half of the respondents expect to allocate 4% or more of their IT operating budget (not including capital budget) to analytics in three years.

When asked what’s driving these analytics deployments, 90% of survey respondents cited efforts to improve clinical outcomes, and more than 80% said reducing costs was the biggest driver. They predict that improving quality and lowering costs will continue to drive analytics efforts for the next few years.

However, supporting consumerism, personalized/precision medicine and value-based contracting are important too, and are likely to play a greater role in determining analytics investments in the future, researchers found. For example, while 57% of respondents said that consumerism is driving analytics investments today, 80% expected to drive investments in three years. Also, 64% said that analytics tools are important to support new payment models today, with 77% stating that they will be Important within three years.

As they build up more robust data analytics programs, respondents plan to expand the number of data sources and types of data sets they use. For example, the number of respondents using data on social determinants of health since in about 38% now but 77% of respondents anticipate they will use it within three years.

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.