Insurers embrace bigger, better data

WellPoint, Highmark, Kaiser use analytics to uncover gaps in care, patterns of patient satisfaction and more
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For health insurers, data is getting bigger and smarter, Healthcare IT News reported. One example: Better data and advanced algorithms has allowed WellPoint to both retrospectively analyze claims and proactively look for gaps in coding as well as gaps in care.

And thanks to text analytics, Pittsburgh's Highmark can uncover patterns of patient dissatisfaction, for example, across various documents, instead of searching through hundreds of pages to find meaningful correlations.

"We use analytics and reporting to create economies of scale for all of the provider communities we work with," Patrick McIntyre, vice president for healthcare economics at the Indianapolis-based WellPoint, said last week at a conference on health analytics, the article noted.

California-based Kaiser Permanente is also embracing bigger and smarter data technologies to ride the next wave of the care continuum. They include patient-reported outcomes following each encounter, such as information pulled from medical devices and patient satisfaction ratings, according to Healthcare IT News

Insurers will find more opportunities for data auto-collection as the Internet of Things grows and people become increasingly connected via wearable health and other mobile devices. For instance, a member's decision to skip the gym could trigger an auto tweet from the inactive gym shoes to the health insurance network, leading to an increase in premiums, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

With more data from wearable devices and electronic health records, insurers must address a new dimension of data quality--data credibility. To prove credible, insurers must implement data management practices that include checks and balances and robust processes.

Enhancing data credibility in the era of big data also calls for stronger efforts to ensure the privacy of patient health information, according to White House report published earlier this month. It suggested protections beyond those offered by HIPAA and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act may be needed, as well as streamlining data interoperability and compliance requirements, FierceHealthIT previously reported.

For more:
- read the Healthcare IT News article
- read the Philadelphia Inquirer article

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