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The Power of Big Data for Benefits Brokers

By Sean Gallivan, COO, Healthentic

For years, brokers have been stuck using outdated manual tools for receiving and analyzing health data. Insightful health data could be a competitive edge, but so far the tools have been a lot of noise and little signal. Big data and health is a hot topic right now and leaders across the space are looking at ways to best utilize them. Kaiser Permanente’s Chief Medical Information Officer recently cited the need for a “health data concierge” to help interpret health information and use it appropriately.

Big data can bring increased productivity and business advantages for benefits brokers and consultants; it’s time to make data a true advantage. Here are 8 tips to maximizing the potential big data holds for brokers.

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1. Save Time and Money

Data reporting must save time and money!

Brokers spend up to 40 hours per client, reviewing carrier reports or detailed analysis from well-known analytics firms. Pocket the 40 hours and opt for reporting that gets work ready to review with clients in minutes, not days. When a detailed review is needed with a report vendor, make sure they don’t charge $4 per employee. The point is to save time and money, to allow service for more clients with more insights. That’s an advantage.

2. Forget Data, Get Insights

Data is easy, but interpreting that data and finding insights is hard. To be meaningful, analytics reporting should be easy to use and include a simple snapshot of specific insights and findings. There’s no doubt health claims and clinical reporting is complicated, but that doesn’t mean reports have to be. Don’t confuse lots of pages with useful data.

Many reporting products provide hundreds of pages of details; sifting through all that data is so daunting that only a few pages ever end up being used and the rest just collects dust. If sorting through a glut of information is necessary in health reports, opportunities end up too difficult to find. Clients will never see the value of a firm’s concern and focus on making data-driven decisions.

3. You Need It On-Demand

Get the data, sign agreements, solve problems… then…wait! Too many times, getting health-reporting products can mean a long horizon. Don’t wait for that binder to come in the mail. Look for reporting products that have regular, quarterly refresh timelines and provide on-demand access. Firms invest a lot of money in data insights to wow clients and make sure renewal is secured, so don’t settle for reports that take an extended period of time.

4. All In One

What’s worse than waiting a long time for one huge, confusing report to come in the mail? Waiting for two or three! There’s no reason to get a fragmented view of clients’ health utilization and wellness. Real insights are found by looking at the entire population in one easy to understand view. Stop comparing page 34 to Appendix J- Section 4. Health reporting that provides real insights does the hard work for you.

5. Take Control

Relying on carriers for reporting? What happens when you or your client want to look for a new carrier? Don’t feel stuck. Use a reporting product that combines data and provides the freedom and leverage needed to shop for carriers during renewal season.

6. Actionable Insights

Health reporting should empower a firm’s team to make progress and take action, allowing brokers to be responsive to customers by taking action on the insights uncovered.

7. Built In Clinical View

Using industry standard reporting usually means getting stuck paying for clinical experts to dig deeper into data when something interesting appears. Make sure questions on data or the details of particular reports can be answered as a part of the base cost of any reporting package. Or better yet, find reporting easy enough to understand, there’s no need for that kind of review at all. Built-in support – that won’t cost you an arm and a leg – is crucial when delivery that renewal-winning report for a client.

8. Run From Hidden Costs

Hidden costs are everywhere. Find a great opportunity for an outreach program? Make sure the reporting company will transfer their list of individuals to the outreach, wellness, or disease management vendor without an extra charge. One of the best ways to avoid hidden costs is to run through a few scenarios with a health-reporting vendor. Find out when and why they charge extra, and get as much included in a base service contract as possible.

Healthcare Business Today is a leading online publication that covers the business of healthcare. Our stories are written from those who are entrenched in this field and helping to shape the future of this industry. Healthcare Business Today offers readers access to fresh developments in health, medicine, science, and technology as well as the latest in patient news, with an emphasis on how these developments affect our lives.

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