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Analytics Magazine

Inside Story: Healthcare: The quiet reform

January/February 2012

If you want to know where healthcare is headed in the United States, ignore the political partisans and pundits and pay attention to what’s happening on the ground. Long before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became both law and a political football nearly two years ago, the industry quietly began reforming itself, driven by the purist of interests: survival and prosperity, in that order.

For this special issue of Analytics, we invited a variety of analysts who work or consult in the healthcare sector to contribute articles based on their particular experience and expertise. One of the first invitations went out to Tom Davenport, who literally wrote the book on analytics (“Competing on Analytics”). Tom contributed a piece on one of the most significant problems facing the healthcare industry as it charges into the future: analytical integration.

We also interviewed a handful of industry leaders and stakeholders from the provider, payer and pharmaceutical segments to give us a well-rounded view of the rapidly changing healthcare landscape (“Analytics & the future of healthcare”). The one message we kept hearing over and over again from all sides was this: Skyrocketing costs have rendered the current U.S. healthcare system “unsustainable,” market forces are calling for a performance-based system, analytics are crucial to this paradigm shift from “volume” to “value,” and the transformation is inevitable. In other words, the 2012 U.S. presidential election might slow down or modify healthcare reform (depending on the results), but it won’t stop it.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Atanu Basu, founder and CEO of Ayata, a Prescriptive Analytics® software company headquartered in Austin, Texas. Atanu, who has a personal and professional interest in the intersection of analytics and healthcare, brought many of the contributors to this special issue to my attention. An enthusiastic supporter of all things analytic, Atanu also served as a co-author of the introductory article to this special issue.

As several of the articles in the issue point out, healthcare providers were – for many years and many reasons – reluctant to embrace analytics, but now the industry appears on the verge of leapfrogging to the forefront of analytical applications. Needless to say, it’s a welcomed development and sets the stage for a promising future – for analysts, for the healthcare industry, and most of all, for patients.

As always, we look forward to your comments.

– Peter Horner, editor

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