Revenue Cycle Analytics

Hospital CFO’s & The “Negligible” Use Of Data Analytics

Post by
Justin Nicols

Hospitals and health systems have mountains of healthcare financial data, brimming with insights to shape operations and revenue strategies. And, there are intelligent technology vendors (Sift Healthcare being one of them) who enable healthcare organizations to harness this data to drive a better bottom line.

Every healthcare CFO and revenue cycle leader should have access to advanced analytics, even if it’s through a homegrown system or filtered through an internal business intelligence team.

This month, a Black Book survey reported that 93% of C-suite executives believe that data analytics are “crucial” to future healthcare demands/operations. At the same time, 84% of them labeled the usage of advanced analytics at their organization “negligible”.

Analytics and intelligence tools are under-utilized in healthcare, all the while, the importance and potential impact of analytics continue to grow.

What drives the "negligible" use of CFO’s and revenue cycle leaders when it comes to analytics? Black Book called out three roadblocks:

1) Big Data, Little Usage.

There are mountains of data, but much of it goes unused. Nearly 70% of all payer data and 90% of all data is not used. It’s collected and stored — but never organized, interpreted or operationalized. Healthcare providers need advanced analytics that actually make use of their data — ingesting and normalizing their massive data sets to distill powerful insights.

2) A Retroactive View.

In Black Book’s survey, less than 4% of respondents said that analytics are utilized in strategic planning. Instead, analytics are used to justify past decisions. Analytics need to go beyond “reporting the news” and identify actionable recommendations for improvement and growth. Big data, predictive analytics and machine learning are just fluffy words unless they enable a proactive approach.

3) Too Complicated To Prioritize?

Most healthcare executives attributed their light usage of analytics to accessibility. 92% said they didn’t know how to use their tools and 71% said they didn’t have enough time to learn. Large-scale implementations, intensive training, red tape and buried insights are all time-consuming hurdles that naturally discourage the c-suite usage of analytics.

Healthcare CFOs and revenue cycle leaders aren’t questioning the importance and potential impact of advanced analytics. However, there is an apparent disconnect between what is useful for healthcare administrators and what they’re getting. It is increasingly important that analytics have a clear purpose and can drive operational improvements and revenue strategies.

In building our healthcare payments platform at Sift, operationalizing analytics has been a core objective. In short, this is how we do it:

Sift integrates predictive analytics & machine learning into revenue cycle workflows to improve payment outcomes and uncover insights
  1. We make healthcare payments data accessible -- we normalize and organize healthcare payments data into a common cloud-based database.
  2. We apply predictive analytics and machine learning to drive recommendations that improve collections operations and payment outcomes.
  3. We integrate recommendations into existing workflows, making current tools and systems more intelligent.
  4. We track and report on outcomes and work efforts, providing transparent and relevant insights.

Analytics are important, but we’re all missing the boat if there’s not a shared understanding of what they provide, how they are accessed and where they can be applied to improve hospital performance.

Read the Black Book press release around analytics usage, here.

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