Earlier this month I attended my first Forbes Healthcare Summit, where the stated goal for this year was to “figure out how to create the kind of care we know we deserve.” The event offered a unique gathering of pharmaceutical, health care and biotechnology chief executives engaged in frank discussions on how to address the industry’s reputation, controversies over drug prices and the never-ending quest for new drug therapies.
Many of the speakers from the pharma, health insurance and provider industries are SAS health analytics customers, and I was struck by the increasingly important role that analytics is playing in their efforts. As we look to the new year, here are several takeaways (based on summit discussions) that will be key areas of focus in health care and life sciences for 2016.
Better care at lower cost. Changing the way health care is paid for in the US, with a greater shift toward improved health outcomes at lower costs, is a priority for executives today. We’re continuing to see health care reform drive value-based payments and reimbursements that affect an organization’s financial health. Because 85 cents of every dollar in health plans is required to be allocated to health delivery, understanding costs and variation in care delivery is critical to survival in this new environment.
Analytics is driving transparency of variations in cost, outcomes and provider performance that will serve as the baseline for transforming our health plan and provider customers’ business models.
Consumer choice changing market. Now more than ever, consumers are making choices about their health plans and services. Today’s consumers must become more educated in their care options, and the responsibility of those decisions is slowly transferring from the provider to the patient. This is an especially difficult transformation given the long history of doctors and health plans providing plans of care that patients followed without question.
Analytics plays an important role for our health care and life sciences customers in identifying specific consumer, patient and member groups and providing appropriate information, product choices and treatment options. Insights generated from analytics will drive innovation in clinical research, insurance options and patient choices.
Managing massive amounts of data. The volume of clinical and claims data continues to increase, along with the desire to incorporate other, nontraditional sources (e.g., wearable, lifestyle, social and demographic data) to further understand consumers, improve health care delivery processes and create a positive consumer experience. Developing and implementing strategies to understand patient behaviors, engagement preferences, and compliance to treatment protocols all begins with the data and the capability to deliver useful information and insights. IT organizations today have a tall order – capture, store, govern and manage volumes of critical data to enable providers and consumers with the information needed to make important care decisions.