We are very pleased to announce the latest addition to our Market Trends Report series: 2016 Clinical Analytics for Population Health
is now available for purchase. This report is the result of months of exhaustive evaluations of current technologies and interviews with vendors and HCOs to discuss product road maps and actual market needs.
While our findings reflect significant advancements in the industry since the 2014 edition, not a single vendor earned a full ‘A’ rating as no solution is currently meeting the user engagement and clinician workflow needs of the HCOs these products are intended to serve.
Industry Moves Forward, Still Struggles with Market in Flux
Analytics vendors are making steady progress with the functional evolution of their analytics solutions but HCOs continue to struggle with the complexity of data, governance in general, and embedding analytical insights into clinical workflows. Every HCO is now straddling the two different payment regimes of FFS and VBR and existing analytics applications aim to help HCOs maximize revenue either way. For VBR, hitting quality targets is the important consideration. For FFS, finding and closing care gaps and missed screenings is the key to revenue flow.
A secondary objective is to help HCOs reduce medical costs (variability) and unnecessary utilization (readmissions reduction and low-acuity, non-emergent utilization). No vendor offers functionality that helps identify other forms of overutilization (e.g. imaging or antibiotic overuse, overlong skilled nursing facility (SNF) lengths of stay (LOS), polypharmacy). Without such tools, HCOs only have a way to assess the tip of the overutilization iceberg. We expect that HCOs will be seeking better ways to categorize and manage more different kinds of overutilization.
In addition, the relationship between good outcomes and utilization will need to be exposed in far more detail. The wider goals of value-based care requires that analytics optimize health outcomes but there is not a lot of evidence that this is happening yet. So far, analytics to expose practice variation are geared more to medical cost than to patient health status. The revenue and utilization focus of existing solutions is understandable given the quality requirements of payers. The industry as a whole has not yet developed a comprehensive way to characterize outcomes in metric form.
Workflow Integration Remains An Adoption Hurdle
This report also points to an important and ongoing challenge — incorporating analytics into existing workflows. While most vendors can provide their solution to an EHR user, few do this in practice. Making these applications palatable to a distracted and time-pressed user population is not easy. The most frequently described use case involves an ambulatory setting in which an office manager prepares physicians and other clinicians, via a morning huddle or patient-specific face sheets, with information about patients with care gaps being seen that day. While vendors have made progress with analytics functionality, workflow integration ultimately keeps analytics out of the hands of clinicians who could benefit.
EHR Vendors Making Serious Strides
Another notable finding is the relatively rapid progress made by EHR vendors in the last year. Vendors such as Cerner, Epic, and eClinicalWorks have added functionality and seen strong adoption by their customers. They enjoy a kind of home field advantage over the independents with the large hospital and health system customers that all vendors are targeting. Independent vendors have also not stood still. They continue to enhance their solutions and acquire new customers.
We still have a lot of improvement to be made in this space, but the market is clearly pushing vendors in the right direction, and major players are investing heavily in updating their capabilities. This is still early days for clinical analytics, with data collection alone still being figured out, with many other hurdles yet to be conquered. This report provides an accurate and complete snapshot of the current offerings available to today with a look towards which solutions will still be relevant tomorrow. The frameworks we present for evaluating needs and solutions will help HCOs structure their thinking as they evaluate offerings.
[…] and reporting data, it is not surprising that design has taken a back seat so far. But this year, not a single population health vendor earned an “A” rating from Chilmark, due to poor user engagement and clinical workflow. This is no longer acceptable. The challenge of […]