Health care, analytics, and the NBA

#5in5_Blog_BannerThis year, for the second year in a row, the NBA Finals included the Golden State Warriors.

While they ended up losing the championship, the team has dominated the league for the last two years with a high-powered offense and a barrage of three-point baskets.

Without a doubt, Golden State’s success is due in large part to talent. The team’s top three players — Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green — are among the best players in the league. The team also has great depth and a smart and savvy head coach — Steve Kerr — who knows how to get the best out of his players.

But there’s another, less-heralded ingredient that’s helped put Golden State over the top: analytics. As a recent Sports Illustrated article notes, Golden State’s front office has become one of the leaders in using analytical principles to uncover trends and insights from the box score to give the team an advantage over the competition.

“I wouldn’t directly credit our success to analytics,” Warriors assistant general manager Sam Lacob told Sports Illustrated. “But a large portion is due to how we utilize things like analytics. We like information. We make good decisions because we analyze a lot of information. Sure, we could run our team without all of the available data. But why would we?”

The same question could be asked of health care providers.

Providers blessed with top-notch medical talent, great leadership and a robust care management system have the necessary traits to flourish as the health care system begins to value quality over quantity. But, just as a collection of talented players doesn’t always make a great team, those traits alone won’t guarantee success in the new world of health care. That’s especially true in the financial sphere, as many organizations are faced with reduced revenue in the transition from fee-for-service to fee-for-value.

Analytics can be a difference-maker. Just as mining the stat sheet has helped the Golden State Warriors figure out how to get the most out of their players, mining clinical and claims data can help providers figure out who their most expensive patients are, where the care gaps exist and how they can reduce unnecessary trips to the hospital.

Analytics can also help providers turn vast amounts of information into actionable insights that will help them thrive in a valued-based model. This leads to better outcomes and paves the way for success in risk-based contracts. That may not get the kind of coverage that the NBA champ gets, but it’s crucial for the sustainability of our health care system.

Dr. Brian Nester, president and CEO of Lehigh Valley Network, has seen what analytics can do firsthand. Click here to watch him in latest 5in5 video from Optum Provider. In it, he explains how analytics enabled Lehigh Valley to confidently make the transition to value-based reimbursement.

You can learn more about the correlation between data usage, whether it be for big league sports or for improving health care. Check out the Optum ebook, Moneyball Anaytics.


About the Author:

LH_low-resLeslie Cozatt currently serves as Director of Marketing, Optum Provider – Thought Leadership and Content Strategy.

She directs the development of content that spotlights the role of data analytics in healthcare – specifically the transition to value-based care, risk management and population health management. She brings to her role more than 20 years of experience developing B2B and B2C integrated marketing campaigns for companies including ThreeWire, Eliance and 3M. Leslie attended the University of Minnesota and graduated from Wellington College with a BS in International Business & Communication.

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