The focus on use of data in healthcare to solve patient problems is forefront to companies across the healthcare industry. Leveraging patient-level SDoH and consumer data is a key component to data-driven innovation and understanding patients as people in order to more effectively identify, engage, and treat them. We recently met with HealthWise Data to discuss the value of consumer data, where companies usually fail in using non-clinical data, and how companies can prepare themselves for the future.
About Anne F. Smith
Anne F. Smith, CEO and Founder
As HealthWise Data’s founder, Anne is the architect behind providing best-in-class data products, analytics, and consultative services to the healthcare industry. Her passion has always been solving unique problems through data & analytics, which in turn drives better results and improves outcomes for HealthWise Data’s clients and partners. Prior to founding HealthWise Data, Anne worked within marketing and business development for several leading consumer data companies.
WHY IS SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH (SDOH) DATA SO IMPORTANT IN DRIVING INNOVATION IN HEALTHCARE?
80% of health outcomes are directly associated with social and environmental factors. However, most healthcare organizations rely solely on clinical data to solve their important problems, which results in gaps, causing poor outcomes. It’s important to understand patients as people, not just as a clinical record. To fill those gaps, HealthWise Data has built propensities around a person’s attitudes, behaviors and lifestyles related to their health.
For example, our insights have been included in the Covid-19 Research Database (currently run by HHS Technology Group and Datavant, among other partners), which launched in 2020. This database was created to solve covid-related problems through an SDOH lens. HealthWise Data’s propensities have contributed to studies around disparate outcomes, long-haulers, the impact of telehealth, and more – all areas that are greatly impacted by an individual’s environment, lifestyle and health behaviors.
Lastly, leveraging SDOH data can be used to proactively identify at-risk patient groups and better allocate resources towards treating said patients, ultimately reducing the cost burden on the healthcare system. For example, understanding that individuals living in a multi-generational household not only are more susceptible to getting Covid, but may also experience worse outcomes, illustrates the importance of considering SDOH factors when solving core healthcare problems.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACED WHEN USING HEALTHCARE DATA TODAY?
Claims and pharma data are hyper-restricted; the data is valuable, but it’s difficult to use because of red tape. This is forcing users to find alternative data sources to understand their patients for outreach and marketing. HealthWise Data provides validated predictions of consumers’ health, wellness, and behaviors without the red tape associated with HIPAA restricted data. Even better, when possible, is using SDOH data in conjunction with clinical to build the most complete picture of a patient.
HOW CAN HEALTHCARE STAKEHOLDERS IMPROVE THE WAY DATA IS BEING USED NOW?
Recently, many healthcare companies have started to want to acquire more and more data. This is great, of course, as the value of SDOH is becoming increasingly apparent and critical in the healthcare space. However, data is just one ingredient, so companies need to ensure that they have a high-level roadmap on what they want to achieve, coupled with analytics capabilities and infrastructure to transform it into actionable insights. This is why HealthWise Data not only provides our health & wellness propensities, but can also provide the analytics and strategic direction for these organizations to achieve their goals.
WHAT ARE YOUR PREDICTIONS FOR HOW DATA WILL BE USED IN THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE AND HOW CAN COMPANIES PREPARE FOR THIS FUTURE?
There are several big forces driving rapid change, one of which is the increasing demand for telehealth. The industry is going more and more automated and digital, so we’re going to be relying a lot more on data and need to find ways to keep up with that demand.
For example, our studies indicate many potential telehealth patients are seniors and oftentimes don’t have the ability to conduct a telehealth call independently. In these cases, it is important to reach out to their Caregivers to facilitate the call. HealthWise Data has the unique capability to identify family members living either inside or outside of the home who are the likely caregivers of that senior.
WHAT DATA POINTS DO YOU SEE AS CRUCIAL IN BETTER UNDERSTANDING PATIENTS IN THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE?
The industry as a whole is increasingly focused on value-based care, and as a result, driving better patient outcomes. Using HealthWise Data’s consumer insights provides a better understanding of the patient-as-a-person. Healthcare organizations can leverage this type of behavioral and lifestyle data (such as food insecurity, access to transportation, ability to pay, health lifestyles, etc.) to curate more customized care plans, understand patient adherence and improve overall outcomes.
Another interesting data point to better understand patients would be patients’ preference for first line of care. This is crucial information to know, as there are so many options nowadays. For example, if you’re a telehealth company, you don’t want to be reaching out to a senior that doesn’t have the capability to do telehealth via Zoom calls. Building on that, data that predicts patient predilection for going to urgent care or using of ER in non-urgent settings can be used to engage with patients in preventative care settings or help them find a PCP, which can reduce cost burden on healthcare system.
WHERE DO COMPANIES FAIL WITH THEIR USE OF SDOH DATA AND CONSUMER DATA?
Consumer data is imperfect, so putting too much credence on an individual patient, datapoint, or application is a mistake I see from companies. Consumer data, while collected at the individual level, is developed for macro-level initiatives. Alternatively, you can do an individual, micro-level approach, but you must take a lot more data points into consideration. Your objectives and analytics should determine which approach and datapoints are chosen. It really comes down to understanding the strengths and weaknesses of consumer data and using it in conjunction with analytics to drive better outcomes.