Analytics is certainly a buzzword in the US healthcare IT market. As the amount of healthcare data continues to expand exponentially, vendors are seeking ways to efficiently and effectively harness data and extract value from it. Despite the hype, vendors and providers have primarily focused on descriptive, or retrospective analysis, while predictive and prescriptive analytics have had trouble finding their way into the discussion (for many providers, prescriptive analytics is still conceptual rather than reality).
Predictive analytics essentially takes acquired data and trends from the descriptive space to answer the question of “what will happen or is likely to happen in the future?” During this stage, all data from the past is combined with defined rules, algorithms and relevant external data to determine the probability of all future outcomes of a given event or action. Prescriptive analytics follows from predictive, and is meant to find the best course of action for a particular situation. After predictions have taken place, prescriptive analytics takes it one step further by suggesting real-time actions to users and showing them the implications of each decision they may make.
Today, these forms of advanced analytics are more commonly used for obtaining insight on readmission management, bundled payments, claims processing, fraud detection and other clinical decision-making processes. However, the use of predictive and prescriptive analytics for medical HCM has been lacking.
There are many HCM vendors that are either not presently offering solutions for predictive or prescriptive analytics, or at least not doing so within the healthcare sector. Nevertheless, there is a growing interest in the market and an expectation that more vendors will introduce advanced analytics products for medical HCM over the next few years. Although software vendors are leading the charge, there are also a variety of consultancies looking to sell their strategic services as more healthcare organizations start planning for implementation of new workforce analytics solutions.
IHS Inc. predicts the US market for predictive and prescriptive analytics for medical HCM to have strong growth through 2020. Providers will continue to seek ways to control their large operating expenses, and advanced analytics can provide valuable insight for optimizing recruitment, scheduling, learning management and other related HCM functions.