Healthcare organisations in Australia and New Zealand have found it difficult to harness the power of data and analytics to improve clinical and patient outcomes due to their inability to exchange data seamlessly and in real time. To address this challenge, healthcare executives in the region are calling for the standardisation of data exchange, according to a new report.
A new study commissioned by InterSystems sought to understand the present state of healthcare analytics and interoperability in ANZ. Conducted by tech advisory firm Ecosystm, the survey gathered responses from 180 healthcare executives in the region.
Based on the survey, almost eight in 10 healthcare organisations polled have regarded analytics as a top priority in their businesses. They mainly expect analytics solutions to help in identifying patient risks, reducing clinical errors, improving patient outcomes and experience, and cutting down costs.
For 2022-2023, ANZ healthcare organisations said they will focus on the following key technology areas: EMR revamp, cloud IT optimisation, clinical analytics and AI, and data interoperability.
Despite having the will to pursue digital transformation through using data and analytics, these organisations are still found to underutilise the immense volume of data at their disposal.
1. More than 50% of the key stakeholders do not trust the data fully.
2. Data quality and access limit success.
Most organisations lack the ability to share real-time data and integrate disparate enterprise systems for data exchange. They also lack a single source of truth for all data.
While around half of the organisations are able to use inpatient clinical data in their health analytics solutions, only 41% could analyse data from diagnostic systems and only 38% could analyse patient administration data. About a third of them have outpatient clinical data available for analysis. Moreover, nearly a quarter can analyse text from communication systems or log files and 18% can use sensor or medical device data for analytics.
3. Organisations’ data strategies may be obsolete.
Most healthcare organisations have been on a data journey long before they realise their need for a strategy to support it. Only 33% have an underlying digital transformation strategy.
4. Organisations analyse limited data.
The report noted that this is because multiple datasets are not interoperable and cannot interact. Their clinicians are only able to make clinical decisions using “only a fraction” of the total data their organisation has access to.
5. Organisations’ data strategies are hampered by business challenges.
Their top three challenges include a lack of sufficiently skilled IT staff, securing a budget, and lack of staff with both clinical and analytical skills.
Cognisant of their limitations, almost seven in 10 healthcare organisations now wish to see a standardisation of data exchange; about half want access to real-time data; and over a third want to improve transactional workflows across the care continuum.
InterSystems noted that 11% of healthcare organisations in ANZ currently employ FHIR-enabled data exchange while around 67% are using more than one interoperability method. The survey also noted that three in 10 organisations are seeking standards-based interoperability methods, including IHE-certified data exchange, HL7/X12 interface engines, and FHIR-enabled data exchange.
THE LARGER TREND
In Australia, health authorities are pursuing their National Healthcare Interoperability Plan to enable a more connected Australian health system by 2027. Recently, the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) has tied up with Health Level Seven Australia to promote the consistent adoption of FHIR standards across healthcare settings.
A centre of excellence for Australian healthcare connectivity is also being set up through ADHA’s collaboration with the Australian e-Health Research Centre under CSIRO. It will create a world-class terminology service and capability in Australia through the National Clinical Terminology Service.
ON THE RECORD
“The road to healthcare interoperability has been rocky. Obstacles include multiple jurisdictions and a complex public/private healthcare mix. But out of this adversity has come FHIR, a huge breakthrough in health data standards, which our study shows is on the cusp of mainstream adoption. Increased FHIR adoption would increase the data available for analytics and enable data-driven care initiatives to solve the challenges our healthcare systems face,” said InterSystems ANZ country manager Darren Jones.