Healthcare analytics is a multibillion-dollar industry. Having the ability to predict patient readmission, fraud, logistical needs, provider quality and so on provides healthcare providers with opportunities for cost savings and increased efficiency. Even being able to answer simple questions in healthcare with data can provide massive ROI. Our team has seen companies implement very simple analytical systems that quickly provided tactile ROI.
As a team built up of data engineers and data scientists we have worked on multiple products and projects for healthcare and insurance providers. One of the truths we see is that both entities have a huge advantage to developing either their own internal tools or starting up specialized teams/small subsidiaries focused on healthcare analytics.
There are several reasons for these advantages. One, healthcare providers and insurance companies already have the data they need to get the insights they want and second they have the expertise in-house with their doctors, medical directors, and medical specialists to drive the right products that answer the right questions. These two advantages allow healthcare providers to develop analytical tools and products that other companies can’t.
The first advantage we healthcare providers have is they have access to data that very few companies have access to. At this point, it is cliche to say data is the new oil. Data is nevertheless a valuable asset that provides multiple opportunities for increasing profits and decreasing costs. The best part is that healthcare has a monopoly on healthcare data. Due to regulations as well as the specificity of the data, healthcare providers have access to data that very few companies have. This provides a huge advantage when it comes to building healthcare analytical products. It is almost as if they bought land fifty years ago and they are just now realizing they have oil underneath. The data they have is unique and difficult to replicate which provides a huge advantage.
Yet, many of these healthcare providers are still struggling to utilize the data effectively. To make matters worse, there are tons of companies both small and large with analytical expertise who are working on developing products to sell to healthcare providers for a premium. These analytical experts create products that benefit themselves financially and they limit the features and access for their customers based on their terms. Our team believes healthcare providers should work on developing products or small companies internally that can develop their own analytical tools. From there, it allows them the opportunity to not only have more control but also have a product they can possibly sell to other providers. This could offer a huge financial advantage, not only from the improvements they could see from implementing the product but also from selling the product to other healthcare providers.
Now, access and control of healthcare data is just one of the advantages that healthcare providers have when it comes to developing healthcare analytical tools. The other, just as important, advantage is the subject matter expertise. Just because you have access to oil doesn’t mean you can create value. Creating value from oil comes from knowing what problems using oil can solve. It can provide energy for cars, create plastics, clothes, etc. This comes from first understanding what the properties oil has and then knowing what products require those properties. In the same way, knowing the properties of healthcare data is part one, understanding what problems the data can solve is the second part. Our team has experience playing a role in developing healthcare analytical products and we know that it takes not just data experts, but medical experts as well to develop highly impactful data insights. Healthcare providers and insurance companies have brilliant medical experts who have problems and questions they face every day that they wished they had better answers to. If they knew what data they had and could work with a data team or subsidiary they would be able to help guide development of the correct analytical tools. Some examples of analytical tools and models that were impacted positively by healthcare specialists were fraud detection for insurance providers, quality metrics and policy effectiveness for healthcare providers (to list a few). All it takes is a few small initiatives for healthcare providers to start developing basic analytical tools that can provide high ROI.
One of the issues is that many healthcare providers believe they require complex software tools to answer simple problems. Many of the analytical tools that could help these healthcare companies are nowhere near as complex as many things. They don’t require complex algorithms that only a Ph.D. could understand. Typically, they just require solid research and understandings of the problems. Creating strong analytical products starts with good data and great expertise which healthcare providers have.
Healthcare providers have strong advantages when it comes to the 31 billion dollar healthcare analytics field. It is up to them to take the data and expertise and create great tools that can be used by everyone involved.
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