Unlock the power of your “big” data

Your organization stores all sorts of data—electronic health records (EHRs), claims, socio-demographic and administrative.

Are you taking advantage of what it has to offer?

For a lot of organizations, the answer is probably “no.” While many have “big” data, they may not have “good” data.

By using advanced analytics, you can unlock the power of your data to better understand your populations and act to improve their health. By overlaying socio-demographic, financial and clinical data, you’ll quickly find your highest risk patients who would most benefit from clinical interventions.

But first you have to shore up the quality of your data—that means extracting, validating, transforming and normalizing it. And once it’s in a usable form, it needs big data analytics so it can be scrutinized and understood.Jeremy Orr, MD, MPH

Analyzing data takes a lot of work, but the payoff is worthwhile. Take the Oakland Athletics, for example.

In the early 2000s, the A’s did what seemed like the impossible: the team won two-thirds of its games and made the playoffs three years in a row with the sixth smallest payroll in Major League Baseball. And they did it by crunching numbers. By rigorously analyzing players’ statistics—Michael Lewis explains in his book, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game—the A’s were able to focus on players who had the skills to get on base and score runs.

More than a decade later, the health care industry is now playing its own Moneyball of sorts, using advanced analytics to mine petabytes of data for game-winning insight. Like the A’s, health care organizations want to be both high performing and cost efficient.

By helping payers and providers focus on the patients and the conditions that have the most potential for cost savings and care quality improvement, big data and big data analytics can be a boon to health care. This is especially true for organizations that are transforming from a volume-based business model to a value-based model.

In my next posts, I’ll talk about what it takes to be successful in value-based care, including the health care IT infrastructure needed to get started.

For more on using analytics to turn big data into good data, download this Optum eBook, “Moneyball Analytics: Connecting and leveraging the best data across the health care continuum”

–Jeremy Orr, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, Optum Analytics

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