A recent report from Grand View Research projected that the market for healthcare analytics will reach $42.8 billion globally by 2024.
This growth is driven by a number of factors, such as providing more cost effective treatments for patients, the ability to provide customized care and the increased use of medical devices that allow medical professionals to monitor their patient’s condition once they leave the hospital or clinic.
In conjunction with these revolutionary changes in healthcare, the number of people needed to develop and manage software systems to reap the benefits of new technology are needed. While healthcare IT teams grow in number, so does the need for leaders capable of making the most of those teams as well as the data they collect for use in healthcare analytics.
The Challenge for New Leaders
Healthcare analytics departments work with patient data. They store it, manage it and oversee systems that allow for the flow of information between various platforms. They also collect and interpret data for executives to use in making key decisions.
One of the top challenges facing the healthcare industry is finding qualified leaders to head up the analytics department. The job poses all the difficulties of innovative technology positions, as well as the complexity of balancing the needs of medical professionals with technology and business needs.
It’s a fine line to walk and the need for skilled, dynamic leaders is driving more of those with a health informatics education into these roles.
Employers tend to look for certain traits for healthcare analytics leadership. They include putting needs of others and the medical operation ahead of your own, understanding the people you work with, having the vision to set an agenda and the communication skills to share it, and the nerve to take calculated risks.
In an interview with Healthcare IT News, executive director for the Healthcare Center for Excellence, Bryan Bennett, pointed to current healthcare leadership struggling to create a “foundation of leadership before they put training, process workflows data technology and, only then, analytics in place.”
Upgrading the current information technology systems at many healthcare facilities is another challenge facing healthcare leadership. Many facilities still possess systems that cannot easily be adapted to the innovative software used in data analytics.
Finding a way to integrate these systems is an area where IT and analytics leadership must come together and drive change. In some cases, starting with just one area is the way to go. For example, collecting and optimizing claims data before moving into more complex and often unstructured clinical data.
The latest technology is of utmost importance in leveraging the possibilities of analytics. Properly handled, analytics can help save costs, make operations more efficient, spearhead patient engagement and provide forecasting based on patient trends.
Patient engagement is a big part of values-based care which helps patients achieve better health outcomes through healthcare analytics.
Much of this revolves around a patient being able to better understand their treatment plan and its effect on their personal health data. Engagement at that level tends to lead to better compliance with treatment plans.
Healthcare IT and analytics leaders play an important role in making health data available and meaningful to patients by creating the framework through which they access their information, often referred to as a patient portal. Giving patients access to their electronic healthcare records allows them to view their data and discuss what it means for them with their doctor.