The Importance of Healthcare Data Analytics in an EMR

Big data analytics, predictive analytics, data warehouses – you see all these buzzwords words every day in the media. They are often discussed with regard to finance and manufacturing, though data analysis is of primary importance in healthcare industry also.

Health care organizations (HCOs) invest a great deal of resources into their IT systems. According to Health Data Management forecast, the 2018 budgets of healthcare organizations are expected to rise about 8.8%. The adoption of electronic health records (EHR) and later electronic medical records (EMR) has been increasing recently, particularly in view of the requirements of Meaningful Use of patient data. Yet, much of the data contained in EHRs and EMRs is an unused asset. Why? There are several reasons:



The Reasons EHRs and EMRs Lack Health Data Analytics


·         The design of EMRs and EHRs is not meant for any data analytics and medical data analytics in particular. The amount of data stored in EHRs is tremendous, yet not all information stored by health care organizations is useful. Indeed, the biggest part of the data is not used because there are no tools for data mining and data integration. EMR data analytics integration from various sources into an interface providing meaningful use of EMR data is a goal HCOs should achieve to ensure effective business processes.


·         There are no adequate resources and skills to integrate data analytics in EHR. As a rule, EHR systems aren’t designed to integrate data from other sources or to manage data, i.e. there are no appropriate tools for these tasks. Thus, effective integration tools are necessary to streamline health information processing, though in-house IT departments in HCOs seldom have enough time and resources to create such tools.


·         EMR and EHR interfaces are not user-friendly or intuitive. There are a lot complaints from doctors and HCOs management teams about the excessive time spent on filling all forms and extracting all the information they need. According to Connected Care Watch, “primary care providers are spending more time entering and staring at EHR data than interacting with patients in their presence”. The cited study reveals that time-consuming interaction with EHRs contributes to work-life imbalance, dissatisfaction, high rates of attrition, and burnout rates exceeding 50 percent.


As we can see, to provide value-based care, HCOs need EMR systems that can capture data, process it and give it back in a visible and easy-to-understand interface. Data visibility is crucial for effective functioning of business and improving the clinical, operational and financial outcomes of the organization. What can be done to solve these problems?



EHR Data Analytics – What an HCO Can Do to Transform Patients Data into Meaningful Analytics


The key to effective and meaningful data analytics is the right tools. The right tools allow analyzing data and discovering insights which help provide better care and improve business process. The Health Catalyst analyst says there are 3 common stages data goes through before it can be used in healthcare data analytics.


Those stages are:

1.    Data capture where the data is acquired and data quality is assured.

2.    Data provisioning where the data is moved to your data warehouse and visualization for clinicians is built.

3.    Data analysis itself where the data is interpreted, mined and evaluated.


Let us find out how a HCO can optimize its healthcare data analytics process.


First of all, provide your analysts with a data warehouse. An Enterprise data warehouse aggregates all your data across the system and allows it to be found in one place. A data warehouse makes manual access unnecessary, bringing data together and includes important attributes such as metadata, security, auditing, and common linkable identifiers.

At that your analysts must have full access to the testing environment as a data warehouse is their tool which they should use in the manner they need to store the large amounts of data they need. More information about the effective use of data warehouse can be found here.


It should be mentioned that your HCO has to leverage a complete data set from the entire organization, including all sources of valuable data such as EMRs. And you have to visualize the combined complete data to be able to represent it to all stakeholders who may need it.


And then, you have to provide your analysts with the necessary data discovery tools to explore the data, to find trends and correlations and to make forecasts. The right tools should enable your analysts to view and analyze data in real time, make reports and get insights.


Predictive analytics based on complete and relevant EMR data can provide:

-          More accurate diagnoses

-          Improved public health and preventive medicine

-          Decreased healthcare costs


Now let’s try to find out how data analytics can be integrated into EMR.



EMR Data Analytics Challenges


One of the greatest challenges about medical data is the compliance. The healthcare industry is strictly regulated by numerous standards and requirements. You should always consider compliance requirements, such as HIPAA, HL7, etc.


The next challenge is the multiple EMR systems and the extraction of meaningful data out of them. As a rule, these systems lack the interoperability and reporting capabilities necessary to extract data. Legacy health records, ePHI, financial data, and other structured and unstructured data has to be converted into the EMR you use for data analysis. More about unstructured healthcare data and the way to cope with unstructured data related problems read is here.


To cope with these challenges you have to assess you systems, analyze your data security procedures and audit the coding in compliance with all the regulatory requirements. And, for sure, you’ll have to adopt a strategy to integrate the data in such a way as to ensure value-based care for your patients. You’ll need a team of professionals that has the necessary skills of development and deployment for healthcare-specific systems and applications.


Embedding analytics into the EMR enables HCOs to eliminate the gaps in documentation, coding, and quality. The data obtained directly from the EMR provide insights, enabling greater efficiency and care coordination and reduced administrative demands on your staff.

Archer Software is a premier software development company with a wide range of experience in the healthcare domain, both in the field of software development and software integration. Our HIPAA Expert certification is updated every year and we have in-depth knowledge of all healthcare related standards and requirements. Find our full healthcare related portfolio here. Please contact us via to get more information.