What you do with data matters
Yes, data is everywhere. It can overwhelm even the brightest of us. What it requires is succinct analysis. We can tell how many employees in a given area had strep throat in August 2015, but how relevant is this information? Employers need actionable, meaningful data. They need solutions that help employees improve their health and lower health plan costs.
Or maybe those cases of strep throat in August are extremely relevant once you have context. Through a holistic view of data, you might find a higher rate of absenteeism in August. Is there a trend with the medical claims? Was there a pattern with medical claims and absenteeism? If so, why was there an outbreak?
Working backwards, schools begin in August—every August. Let the illnesses begin. Start a communication campaign in July to educate employees how to prevent the sharing of germs, including those leading to strep throat. Next, take actionable steps. If, for example, your workplace doesn’t have hand sanitizers, install them. Although this is a minor example, it can have a profound impact on productivity and the health of employees and their families.
Now, you are taking steps that are impactful, specific and truly meet a specific health challenge. Now you are looking at employee health—and your plan costs—holistically. Now, you are establishing strategies and following through to control your health plan costs.
Changing behavior is difficult and people don’t always like change. But when clear data analysis can predict future health trends and lead to suggestions that improve employee health, Big Data is just the right amount of data. When interpreting that data identifies areas of improvement in your plan and reveals those employees who can realize better health outcomes, you better control your plan’s costs. When your employees reduce their health risks and take advantage of quality health services, everyone wins.
That’s what is possible with an integrated approach to the solutions that data analytics can provide.
This is part 4 of a 4 part series containing excerpts from the Oswald and Assurex Global data analytics whitepaper, Health Plan Secret Weapon: Integrated Data Analytics – Making Sense of Data to Make More Informed Benefit Plan Decisions. View Part 1 here: How Analytics Helps Make Sense of Health Plan Components ; Part 2 here: The Human Touch: Using Data Analytics to Integrate Findings And Solutions; and Part 3 here: The Costs of Inactivity: Wellness Programs and Data Analytics.