A new survey from MGMA has found that medical practices have mixed approaches to analyzing their electronic health record data.
The survey found 31 percent said they use their EHR analytics capabilities to the fullest extent; another 31 percent said they deploy a combination of EHR analytics along with help from an external vendor partner; 22 percent said they use some of their EHR’s analytic capabilities; and 5 percent said they rely on an external vendor.
But a not-insubstantial 11 percent of survey-takers said they don’t perform analytics at all on their EHR data, according to the poll.
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MGMA Principal Derek Kosiorek said he understands the wide disparity in providers’ analytic maturity. After all, most EHRs weren’t built for data analytics, but as electronic information repositories.
In the post-meaningful use EHR rush, many systems, in order to be more palatable to paper-reliant physicians, were designed to emulate paper records, he said in a blog post, rather than to interpret, aggregate or organize the records.
“For many practices, reports produced by the EHR were either pre-installed with the product or configured by the vendor during implementation,” said Kosiorek. “To these groups, the ability to generate new analytics walks out the door with the product implementation team.”
Even savvy medical staffs are forced to rely on assistance or add-ons from outside vendors to help them with analytics.
But even though many physician practices don’t have the resources to do so, the imperatives of value-based care make the ability to leverage clinical, administrative and financial data vital, he said.
The good news is that EHRs and analytics tools are “improving in exciting ways and will soon live up to the promise that brought us into the electronic age,” said Kosiorek. “I often say that clinical providers do not dislike EHRs as a concept – they dislike the EHRs they have been given. Today, it is more difficult to get the job done with the tool than it is without it. But data analytics have the power to change all that.”