CIOs: Healthcare BI essential for changing payment models

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Business intelligence (BI) increasingly is becoming a priority for hospital CIOs, particularly with the advent of health information exchange and accountable care models, according to the report released by Orem, Utah-based healthcare IT research firm KLAS earlier this week. More specifically, enterprise BI solutions--those that, according to the report, "simultaneously organize, analyze and visualize clinical, financial, and operational data" organization-wide--clearly are the path of choice among the providers surveyed (83 percent).

Stephen Stewart, CIO of Henry County Health Center in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, agrees with the report's findings, telling FierceHealthIT that mining data will be essential to providing indicators for finding the "low-to-mid hanging fruit" that can help make care more proactive than reactive.

"In looking at BI today, I, too, am looking for flexibility, openness and a broad view/function suite for the future," Stewart says. "ACOs have not even been fully defined yet, but if we are going to figure out what to charge and how to share the revenue, data properly mined and analyzed will be the answer."

Todd Richardson, CIO of Evansville, Ind.-based Deaconess Health System, says, like many of the providers surveyed for the report, that BI with predictive analytics and dashboards will be of particular use for the direction that healthcare is heading.

"If we're changing from a fee-for-service model where you get paid for what you do, to getting paid for quality outcomes ... there's an incentive for us to start getting out in front of" our patients, Richardson tells FierceHealthIT. "If we're truly going to cut the cost of healthcare, it's not about caring for people after they've had heart attacks.

"Once you've got rust, you've got rust, and it's tough to get rid of," he notes. "Isn't it much easier to prevent the rust up front?"

Richardson adds, though, that BI solutions are only as good as the data put into them, meaning that a solid infrastructure needs to be in place before such a system is implemented.

"When it's all said and done, a data warehouse ... and business intelligence aren't of any value if you don't have data" to put into them, he says. "The data that's going to make it extremely useful is the data that we are going to have in capturing screen data through the electronic medical records" systems in place.

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