Buyer's Guideby Lisa Hedges,
Last Updated: June 20, 2018
Practice analytics software, sometimes called health care analytics, is the point at which business intelligence and medical software (such as EHRs and practice management systems) meet—and it's a big deal these days.
Since the U.S. government mandated meaningful use of EHRs back in 2014, the widespread adoption of software systems in medical practices translates to availability of data on a massive scale. This is data that medical practices can use to improve in a number of areas.
Practice analytics software is the tool with which practices can collect and analyze that data, and this Buyer's Guide will help you understand exactly how it does that.
Here's what we'll cover:
What Is Practice Analytics Software?
To understand data analytics specifically designed for the medical industry, let's first define data analytics in a more general sense:
Data analytics tools are a type of business intelligence software that allows users to collect and store data, quickly view that data—often in the form of charts and graphs—in dashboards and analyze the data to gain insights and make informed decisions.
Just as data analytics tools are typically considered part of a larger business intelligence system, many medical software providers incorporate analytics tools into existing, market-specific medical software to streamline data collection and offer solutions that are unique to physicians.
One big benefit of analytics software is its ability to collect different types of data, which can be incredibly useful for medical practices. For example, users can track things such as:
- Key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Revenue cycle and billing
- Reimbursement rates
- Patient intake
- Patient surveys
- Diagnostics and treatments
And the list goes on. By offering users the option to track different types of data, practice analytics software gives you the ability to gain deeper understanding of your business from different perspectives. Let's say you want to learn more about your patients. Using feedback left through patient surveys and information collected during patient intake, health care analytics software could help you do that.
Patient data dashboard in Datapine's health care analytics tool
By customizing where data is gathered and what kind of data you're collecting, you can do the same thing to learn more about things such as where your money is going and how efficient your business processes are. From there, you can make changes or set goals for your practice to grow and improve.
Common Features of Practice Analytics Software
Practice analytics software tends to have a lot of the same basic features as more general data analytics tools, in addition to medical-specific capabilities. Here are some of the most essential features of practice analytics software:
|Dashboards||The control center for analytics tools. Dashboards let you see all of the data collected and presented in visual, easily digestible and interactive graphics.|
|Data collection and storage||Practice analytics tools often integrate with existing systems (practice management, patient scheduling, EHRs, patient engagement etc.). By connecting analytics tools to all of these systems, you expand the sources from which information can be gathered.|
|Data set creation||Allows managers to create controlled data sets from the larger body of existing data. This is useful for things such as creating randomized samples, aggregating data or scrubbing entries.|
|Querying and reporting||Allows users to interact with the data by "asking" questions. The analysis tools are then able to answer the query in the form of a report.|
|Predictive analysis||Using algorithms or other mathematical models, analytics tools can observe a data set and produce a forecast of future events. For example, you can use predictive analysis to assess past accounting information in order to predict budgeting and spending in the upcoming month, quarter or year.|
|Sharing||Collaboration among team members is important for creating dynamic solutions, so practice analytics software systems facilitate the sharing of data and analysis among designated users.|
Benefits of Practice Analytics Software
We've already covered one major benefit of practice analytics software: the ability to collect information related to a variety of business areas. But, that's hardly the only—or even the biggest—advantage of this software. Here are a few of the major benefits of practice analytics software:
Making decisions will be so much easier. If you've ever agonized over a business decision, you're not alone. It's tough to decide when to spend money, what services to offer patients, who to hire and how to run your team—but making these decisions is imperative if you want your practice to stay open. And, if you have access to data-based insights for every aspect of your practice, making those decisions is a lot easier. Practice analytics software provides those insights in the form of predictive analysis and other reports.
Access to larger medical databases and predictive algorithms makes diagnosing easier and more accurate. Physicians can use "smart" algorithms that take national—or even global—diagnostic data into consideration to help decide what's causing presenting symptoms and how they should be treated.
Tracking KPIs and benchmarking help practices improve overall. Competing with yourself is a phenomenal way to motivate and obtain goals, and benchmarking is the practice analytics way of doing that. By being able to review past performance, set goals for future performance and track current performance against those benchmarks, users gain valuable insight into what they're doing right and what they need to focus on more.
Physicians can improve performance and therefore patient satisfaction. Accessing patient reviews, physician diagnoses and treatments and patient outcomes provides a broad, overarching view of everything that makes up physician performance. Seeing it all compiled can reveal areas where physicians excel, as well as those that need work.
How Is Practice Analytics Software Sold?
Because health care analytics is a combination of several different types of software, physicians have a handful of options when it comes to purchasing.
If you're a smaller practice that's just beginning to explore your data analytics options, you may opt for a stand-alone software system that only provides analytics. These tend to be less expensive and easier to navigate, but integration with existing systems can prove costly or time-consuming.
If you're a larger practice with more resources, it's worth considering customizable data analysis systems offered by larger vendors or health care-specific data analysis vendors. These tend to run a little higher in terms of cost, but the medical functionality and knowledgeable support teams often make the expense worth it.
Finally, if your existing EHR provider offers a practice analytics module, you should absolutely explore it, regardless of your practice's size. The ability to add analytics functionality to an existing system without dealing with integration and having to learn a new format should not be overlooked.
You can also reach out to our team of expert advisors at (855) 998-8505 for more help selecting the ideal practice analytics solution for you.
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