Last week I was in D.C. for eHealth Initiative’s National Forum on Data & Analytics. The event brought together a number of stakeholders from the health-care industry – providers, payers, researchers, clinicians – to examine the use of analytics in the health-care system. It was an interesting conference, and it made me think about our vision at ConnectedHealth.
Data and analytics are critical parts of what we do. Understanding consumer behavior and the factors that drive change should be paramount to anyone in this business.
During my panel at the conference, my colleagues and I addressed the topic of data as it relates to the new health marketplaces. We heard good insight on a number of issues, including data privacy obstacles, and how those might play out as the public and private exchanges (or insurance markets) continue to unfold. The point I focused on was ConnectedHealth’s view of the world and, specifically, the impact that retail has on health care.
Long story short: we believe that consumers will access health care where they buy their paper towels or milk (almond, soy, cow — all of it). Clear examples of this exist today. Look at the expansion of health clinics at stores such as CVS and Target. It’s helpful and convenient for the shopper, and a smart way for these organizations to gather and analyze data on consumer purchasing habits. This is not just a trend – it’s a movement.
Sam Ho, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of UnitedHealthcare, said it best. When asked what he thought health insurers needed to do in data and analytics his response was, in essence, turn yourselves upside down and look at it from the consumer perspective.
The reality is that we have lots of data on consumers; it’s just siloed and inaccessible. And, right now, insurance is sold, not bought, to people who just are not particularly interested, don’t really understand and are financially challenged. Ultimately, it’s about understanding that health-care decisions are complicated and difficult to make, and leveraging the data we have to create a decision-making experience that helps guide individuals to the best decision for them. The retail world is constantly pursuing this, and there’s no reason why our industry can’t do the same.