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Which Healthcare Big Data, Business Intelligence Vendors are Most Popular?

Epic Systems, Infor, McKesson, Allscripts, and more are among the leading vendors in the big data analytics and business intelligence arena.

Source: Thinkstock

Electronic health records may have reached a whopping 96 percent of hospitals in 2016, but healthcare providers have not yet reached such great heights when it comes to purchasing and implementing business intelligence (BI) tools that harness their big data reserves.

The popularity of big data-driven BI tools to automate and streamline operational processes and revenue cycle management may be growing as providers stare down value-based reimbursement reforms and regulatory wallops like MACRA, and health IT vendors are certainly banking on increasing adoption over the next few years.

From care coordination and workflow automation to supply chain management, asset management, and inventory control, the number and scope of technology offerings supporting healthcare’s digital transition are generating interest across the board.

Which technologies have already attracted attention from the hospital sector, and which vendors are leading the pack during this turbulent phase in the health IT adoption saga?

Using data from the Definitive Healthcare database, HealthITAnalytics.com breaks down the most popular business intelligence, performance management, and big data technologies and highlights the vendors – including Epic Systems, Allscripts, and Infor – currently enjoying a leading role in the health IT industry.

From EHR to ERP – and beyond

Electronic health record adoption is nearly universal among American hospitals, according to the latest data from the Office of the National Coordinator.  Utah is the only state that has failed to achieve more than 90 percent adoption of Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT). 

Sixteen states, including Alaska, West Virginia, Maine, and Indiana can boast 100 percent adoption rates, while some of the most populous regions in the country, such as California, Texas, and New York, are hovering in the high nineties.

Source: Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT

Small rural hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) are no longer lagging very far behind their larger peers as far as adoption is concerned, which spells good news for traditionally underserved populations that have struggled to access quality care.

While hospitals of all types and sizes may still be wrestling with the ongoing issues of EHR usability, interoperability and optimization, many organizations are looking beyond the basics of digital recordkeeping towards supporting technologies that can uncover new insights into operational costs, financial management tasks, and human resource issues.

Data from Definitive Healthcare reveals some of the most popular technologies supporting daily operations for healthcare providers, including tools to aid supply chain management, payroll, human resources, enterprise resource planning (ERP), and workflow automation.

Source: Xtelligent Media / Definitive HC

Hospitals are likely to have a combination of revenue cycle and business intelligence tools in place, with an average of 3.3 implementations per care site.

And they are very likely to choose an off-the-shelf product instead of developing systems in house.  Only 4 percent of the 5508 organizations indicating adoption of a supply chain management tool used a proprietary software package to monitor inventory.

Source: Xtelligent Media / Definitive HC

Top vendors in the space include Infor, MEDITECH, McKesson, and CPSI, although 13 percent of the sample chose a smaller vendor that may offer products tailored to more specific needs.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools are somewhat less popular than supply chain technologies, and the vendor marketplace is significantly more consolidated.  ERP offerings allow providers to access an integrated view of back-end business processes, such as payroll, orders and purchasing, workload forecasting and management, customer services, and accounting.

Just like on the clinical side, data siloes in the financial environment can make it difficult for many providers to adopt seamless and integrated ERP products, and just 27 percent of the included hospitals have implemented an ERP product.

Source: Xtelligent Media / Definitive HC

Infor holds a commanding lead over its competitors in this space, with 48 percent of the sample’s implementations.  Oracle follows with just over a quarter of the market, while MEDITECH and CPSI trail with significantly fewer installations among hospitals in the data set.  Eight percent of hospitals are using other vendors with a smaller presence.

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Managing the performance of a patient-centered organization

Delivering coordinated, patient-centered care will likely be the key to meeting performance thresholds under the looming MACRA framework, and adopting health IT tools to speed the transformation to high value, high quality care is becoming a popular strategy.

Just under 70 percent of the nation’s hospitals now offer the ability for patients to view, download, and transmit their personal health data, and 63 percent allow patients to securely message with their providers.

Source: Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT

But consumer-facing patient engagement capabilities are only half the battle.  Internal systems can help providers identify gaps in care, coordinate treatment plans, uncover patterns in care utilization, track patient safety issues, and manage the flow of patients between departments.

These performance management (PM) tools are becoming increasingly important for healthcare providers, especially those seeking to make the move to value-based reimbursement arrangements. 

The ability to reduce inefficiencies and trim avoidable costs while raising quality performance and patient satisfaction will be critical for providers looking to offset reduced revenue from anticipated reductions in volume.

Forward-thinking hospitals have already started building the foundations for this new operating philosophy.  While larger hospitals are slightly more likely than their smaller counterparts to invest in performance management tools, organizations of all sizes are gearing up for the major changes headed their way.

Source: Xtelligent Media / Definitive HC

Mid-size hospitals with between 200 and 500 beds are most likely to have a PM system already in place, the data shows, but even the smallest organizations with fewer than 50 beds recognize the importance of accessing data-driven insights into clinical and workforce operations.

Similar to the ERP vendor landscape, the performance management market is fairly consolidated.  Among the hospitals included in the dataset, 45 percent use offerings from Midas+, a member of the Xerox family, while the next largest vendor, Quantros, only holds 11 percent of the customer base.  

Source: Xtelligent Media / Definitive HC

Explorys, which was recently acquired by IBM, and Allscripts follow with 7 percent each, while Optum, Strata Decision Technology, and Infor all hold 3 percent of the market.  Nearly 20 percent of providers are using a variety of other vendors.

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Reaching across borders to coordinate care

Care coordination tools are also on the wish list for hospitals as the business case for partnering with former competitors grows stronger.

Health information exchange and true interoperability are still somewhere in the future for many hospitals, the ONC says.  Just 67 percent of organizations can exchange care summaries with other hospitals, while only 52 percent can electronically find patient health information from outside providers.

Source: Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT

Sixty-five percent can receive patient summaries of care from external organizations, but only 38 percent of acute care hospitals can electronically integrate these documents into their records.

Source: Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT

Health IT vendors, particularly those with a larger presence in the clinical space, are helping hospitals take on the daunting task of raising those numbers before the tide of value-based care sweeps them away.

Hospitals on either end of the size spectrum are slightly more likely than mid-sized organizations to make care coordination tools a part of their health IT suites, but a goodly number of organizations of every size and type recognize the importance of communicating with entities across town, in a neighboring county, or even across state lines.

Source: Xtelligent Media / Definitive HC

In November of 2015, HealthITAnalytics.com found that Epic Systems was the leading vendor in the care coordination space, and little has changed in the intervening months for the Verona, Wisconsin health IT giant.

Care coordination vendor adoption statistics from November, 2015
Care coordination vendor adoption statistics from November, 2015

Source: Xtelligent Media / Definitive HC

Other vendors have gained ground since then, perhaps contributing to the 3 percent drop in market share from a high of 44 percent, but more hospitals still use Epic for their care coordination needs than any other vendor.

Source: Xtelligent Media / Definitive HC

Midas+ now holds 18 percent of the care coordination scene, while Allscripts has gained two percentage points and athenahealth has dropped by three. 

Vendors that feature in the top tier in 2016 but didn’t make the cut in 2015 include Medventive, Evariant, Wellcentive, and Phytel.

Hospitals may be gravitating towards a fewer number of vendors as population health management and care coordination become bigger financial concerns.  While 12 percent of providers in 2015 chose “other” vendors, only 8 percent of providers in 2016 were working with less prominent companies.  In both years, 3 percent of hospitals in the data sample were using proprietary software.

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Epic is bringing business intelligence to healthcare providers

Epic Systems has also secured a large proportion of a very fragmented business intelligence marketplace.  Business intelligence tools support many of the major big data functions within a hospital, which may include clinical workflow optimization, clinical decision support, population health management, predictive analytics, and financial performance modeling.

These functionalities often rely on an enterprise-wide data warehouse that allows providers to collect, manipulate, analyze, and visualize big data to make actionable decisions, but may also leverage a smaller data warehouse dedicated to just a few specific tasks. 

With 39 percent of the customer base, Judy Faulkner’s products are supporting business decisions in more than 1700 hospitals, with few vendors looking able to mount an organized attack on Epic’s dominance.

Source: Xtelligent Media / Definitive HC

The data, which counts each care site as an individual entity, may be somewhat skewed towards Epic due to the company’s popularity with large health systems containing many individual care sites. 

But even accounting for this caveat, the company appears to have seen significant growth over the past year.  In 2015, Epic accounted for just a quarter of hospital BI implementations, indicating a 14 percent growth spurt in individual installation sites in the intervening months.

Business intelligence vendor adoption statistics from November, 2015
Business intelligence vendor adoption statistics from November, 2015

Epic isn’t the only company that has expanded its toe hold in the business intelligence arena, however.  SAP, Siemens, and Datawatch have all made slight progress in 2016, while Strata Decision Technology has held steady at 6 percent.

New to the list in 2016 are Inovalon, Vizient, IBM, and Acmeware, helping to shrink the “other” vendor list from 25 percent to 11 percent.

Perhaps surprisingly, short-term acute care hospitals are not the only organizations investing in big data analytics and business intelligence infrastructure.

Of the 4554 care sites listed as BI adopters, 59 percent provide short-term acute care and 12 percent are health systems.  

Source: Xtelligent Media / Definitive HC

But 14 percent are critical access hospitals, and five percent are children’s hospitals or rehabilitation hospitals.  Long-term acute care and psychiatric hospitals are less likely to utilize BI software, but they still add to the variety of organizations recognizing the need for these capabilities.

That may bode well for the next set of ONC health IT adoption statistics, and for the industry’s much anticipated – but much feared – transition to the MACRA framework.  As hospitals continue to refine their big data analytics strategies and expand their reliance on health IT tools that connect the entirety of the care continuum, providers may find themselves in a better place for the transition to value-based care.

The tasks ahead of them are many and difficult, but an increased reliance on technologies that manage the flow of people, revenue, and big data will likely equip them well for a broad array of future challenges.

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