At the 2014 SAS Health Analytics Executive Conference last week, I had the privilege of hosting a panel discussion with three industry leaders representing a cross-section of large, pioneering health and life sciences organizations who are each on the leading edge in their use of analytics to pave the path toward value-based and patient-centered care. The panelists joining me were:
- Terhilda Garrido, Vice President of Health IT Transformation and Analytics with Kaiser Permanente
- Patrick McIntyre, Senior Vice President of Health Care Analytics, Wellpoint, and
- Sai Venkat, Senior Director of Enterprise Architecture for Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson.
Several themes emerged from the discussion; in particular, five are in my opinion especially valuable for others embarking on the same journey towards analytic maturity:
- Put the patient at the center. Given that face-to-face health care delivery represents a fraction of the opportunity for improving health and wellness, we need to start thinking about how to establish an “always on” health care system – one that provides individuals with convenient access to a seamless blend of online and face-to-face care services – in the same way that they expect from any other consumer-centric organization. Start to think beyond the static patient portal as the only way to extend interaction beyond the walls of your organization, and think about how to create mass personalization by using data to understand patients as unique individuals.
- Collaborate. We heard that there is a growing realization that collaborations are required to gather a truly comprehensive understanding of individual patients as well as populations of patients. Providers, health plans and big pharma have started to form strategic alliances that, over time, can contribute to development of a 360-degree view of the patient; something that would be impossible for any single organization to develop in isolation. This holds the promise of:
- More rapid and targeted drug development
- Greater ability to predict which patients are at higher risk and could benefit from earlier intervention
- Development of win-win risk sharing arrangements
- Control of spiraling health care costs.
- Cross-pollinate. The panelists agreed that too often there are multiple groups within their organizations, each tackling the same types of analytic challenges. Each organization is focused on pooling expertise or sharing best practices to their analytic approaches and insights across the enterprise. For some this means developing a formal Center of Excellence (COE), for others it means establishing routine mechanisms for analytic teams to collaborate across traditional departmental boundaries. Whichever approach is taken, each panelist agreed that they are focused on ensuring that IT, analytics and business leadership are staying in tight lock-step to ensure data-driven initiatives deliver maximum business benefit.
- Bring in novel data sources. Our panelists talked about the opportunities associated with bringing EMR and claims data together to build a broad and deep view of the patient. They also described initiatives underway for enriching existing data with novel big data sources. All organizations should consider the potential value of leveraging socioeconomic, consumer, geographic and social media data, while also keeping an eye on a wave of data emerging from mobile apps, wearable devices and other sensor technology. While blending data in this way requires careful attention to ensure that patient privacy is protected, the panel agreed that they are each considering how to leverage this wave of health care big data to improve the health and quality of care for their patients.
- Think business, not analytics. The most sophisticated analytics endeavors won’t make a difference if they don’t change or improve something in the real world. Make sure the analytics you conduct is prioritized carefully, aligns with key business strategies and has a clear mechanism to effect change, rather than simply delivering reports or risk scores. While this sounds a bit like motherhood and apple pie, we’re all familiar with cases where increasingly scarce analytic talent isn’t used as effectively as possible or is working in a reactive mode rather that in a proactive, strategic fashion. Analytic maturity means being joined at the hip with the front-line needs of the business.
What will separate the leaders in the changing health care landscape?
As health care continues to evolve, two things are certain: first, consumerism is here to stay and the old adage that the customer is king will rock today’s health care industry. And second, the value-based health care train has left the station and there is no turning back.
Organizations that embrace data to excel in customer experience while being able to measurably move the needle on the cost/quality equation will likely be around in 2020. Those that don’t probably won’t be.
If you missed our Virtual Conference, I invite you to watch the Executive Leadership Panel, as well as several others available on-demand.