Last week, the analytics vendor, Health Catalyst (HC) invited me to the Health Analytics Summit (HAS), which to put it simply, was full of surprises and a few validations. With over 900 attendees, not counting Health Catalyst employees, this was a very active and engaging event.
Among the Surprises:
There was virtually no mention of Health Catalyst, despite HC actually hosting this event. This was not your typical user conference with product demos and sales pitches, this was a conference with an objective to educate the market.
There were a few direct competitors of HC in the audience. This further validated Health Catalyst’s stated goal that this was not a sales event, but an educational one.
The audience was very upbeat – arguably the most upbeat healthcare provider audience I’ve ever encountered in my eight plus years in the healthcare IT market. People were there to learn from one another and the positive energy was contagious.
Audience was engaged and we still had a full house for last speaker on Day Two. Of course it was Ed Catmull, President of Pixar and author of Creativity Inc. so little wonder so many people stayed on. Turns out, he was my favorite keynote speaker at the event – truly inspirational.
Customers doing the selling. There were a lot of customers in the audience, but also quite a few prospects who came to look more closely at HC. Health Catalyst set-up the program to have their customers talk about their own analytics journey. As virtually everyone I talked to stated their primary objective was to benchmark where they are in comparison to others, this was quite useful. But it also gave prospects a feel for how actual end users were using HC solutions in their own institutions.
And Those Validation Points:
Use of analytics in healthcare is still extremely immature. Two thirds of the attendees at the HAS stated that they still do not have a comprehensive analytics strategy. This validates our own research to date that healthcare providers still have a long ways to go in creating a comprehensive strategy, let alone actually executing on it.
Best practices are few and far between. While we are seeing some agreement on management models for analytics initiatives, there remains a wide gulf in how organizations are prioritizing their analytics initiatives, where they begin and consequently use analytics in the context of their operations.
Most analytics initiatives remained constrained. There are a handful of healthcare organizations doing some pretty interesting things in the analytics realm, but these are clearly outliers. Even at an event such as this where you have a self-selected audience of leading edge adopters, it was somewhat surprising to see that the majority of organizations are doing relatively simplistic analytics today.
If you are a healthcare IT vendor, you could learn a lot from Health Catalyst. They have done a superior job in educating the market and attending to their customers’ needs. In return, they now have a very dedicated and loyal following. It is not always about you and your product, it is really about what your users can do with your product.
If you are a provider starting your own analytics journey, fear not. Many organizations are in a similar situation as yours and you are not too far behind if you get started now. But this will not be an easy journey so be sure to get executive support for you will ultimately ruffle some feathers with your analytic insights.
And for everyone, if you are even remotely interested in analytics, make it a point to get to this conference. It is uplifting, educational and you are with kindred spirits – all looking to transform and improve healthcare.