Annual Industry Survey: The Challenges of Data Analytics

The use of data analytics is important as organizations strive to improve patient safety and quality. Organizations must collect data on patient safety, adverse events, near misses, and other related issues, and then must analyze and share it.

Judging by the responses to the 2018 Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare Industry Outlook Survey, organizations are still working on mastering the use of data. Asked how they would rate their use of data analytics to improve patient safety and change behavior, only 23% of respondents said they were highly effective.


Fifty-two percent reported that their data initiatives were slightly effective, while 17% said they were slightly ineffective and 8% felt their use of data was highly ineffective.

Quality improvement initiatives need management buy-in to be effective. When asked how they would rate senior management’s level of commitment to driving and supporting quality improvement initiatives, 47% reported that buy-in was very strong. Thirty-nine percent of respondents said the management support was somewhat strong, while 13% said it was either somewhat weak or very weak.

There are many challenges that organizations face when using data analytics in patient safety improvement activities. According to the survey, 43% of respondents find presenting findings in a consumable format such as graphs or charts to be the biggest challenge. Other challenges include understanding what type of analysis to run (41%), identifying key data to measure (39%), and interpretation of the analytical results (36%).

Respondents also listed other challenges, including:

  • Engagement and accountability across disciplines
  • A lack of an automated internal system
  • Access to relevant data
  • Report development cost
  • Getting managers to define goals to drive analytics
  • Inclusion of all caregivers instead of focusing on one department
  • Physician engagement
  • Lack of technology to manage the data
  • Getting in line for analytics requests

The survey report analyzes this and other patient safety and quality issues that concern healthcare organizations. Visit here to download the full report.