Health IT, Hospitals, Payers

Report: Budget constraints hamper data strategy for providers, payers

For providers and payers, a limited budget is the biggest hurdle to executing their data strategy, followed by disparate data sources and the quality of data available, according to a new survey that includes responses from 200 healthcare leaders.

Both providers and payers cite budget limitations as the biggest data challenge they experience, according to a new survey.

Conducted by credit reporting agency TransUnion late last year, the survey polled 100 leaders at payer organizations and 100 at provider organizations in the U.S.

Though the volume of healthcare data has grown exponentially — increasing by at least 48% annually according to the report — budget constraints present a major hurdle to the execution of data strategy for both providers and payers.

Nearly half of providers (49%) and payers (44%) said a limited budget was their top data challenge. This was closely followed by the disparity of data sources in healthcare and the quality of data on hand.

But the report does show that payers are better positioned for data strategy success than providers. Fewer payers cited lack of resources and expertise as a data challenge (35%) as compared with providers (46%).

Another key issue for providers and payers is the accuracy of the data they are collecting. Inaccurate data can lead to mistakes in patient care and payments for services.

More than half of providers (58%) said they are “very confident” their patient demographic information is correct, versus only 37% of payers who felt the same level of confidence about their members’ demographic data.

One of the reasons for this discrepancy could be that providers have more frequent touchpoints with patients, like during registration and at the point of service, to confirm and update information. Payers, on the other hand, only collect that data during open enrollment or when processing claims, the report states.

Collecting accurate and complete data is just one part of the equation. The other is gathering the types of data that will be most useful for providers and payers to drive their business strategies.

For payers, claims data (35%) and insurance eligibility information (25%) topped the list. Similarly, providers cited insurance eligibility data (31%) and clinical data (29%) as most useful.

The final piece of the data puzzle is the tools and talent required to drive actionable insights. In this arena, payers appeared to have a lead over providers.

The vast majority of payers (85%) said they have the needed tools and talent to support their data efforts, as compared to 57% of providers.

“Accurate and reliable data can make all the difference for providers, payers and patients, and the intricacies of data are both an opportunity and a challenge for the industry as highlighted by our latest survey findings,” said James Bohnsack, senior vice president and chief strategy officer of TransUnion Healthcare.

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