Features to Look for in Effective Health Intelligence Software
In the face of rising healthcare costs, the right health intelligence software can be the most effective solution available to address issues related to the rising cost of healthcare. Building health intelligence software solutions is almost necessary these days due to the sheer amount of variables, data streams, and changing employee conditions that can make it difficult for the untrained eye to know when and where to act from a high level.
Across the board, there are a few key features that should be prioritized for anyone looking to invest in a specific health intelligence company. In order to keep reports insightful to offer the most efficient healthcare, these are the most important features to look for in a competent health intelligence tool.
Identifying Top Medical and Rx Claims
These features aren’t in a particular order of importance, but knowing what the top medical and prescription claims of an employee population is hugely important to those who are administering the health and wellness program. This is the easiest way to see larger issues that may be affecting employee population, giving administrators the ability to treat them in a larger capacity. If there are multiple diagnoses for similar issues within an employee population, that should either be a red flag for administrators or seen as an area of growth.
If large groups of employees have claims related to sitting in front of their computer too much, for example, the employer can target a wellness campaign based on that information. Bringing everyone into group yoga sessions, or offering free massages are all options that wouldn’t have been effective if the employer couldn’t access the medical and prescriptions claim data. That has changed with today’s health intelligence software. With the right data, employers can target their engagements, making sure that the individuals that need the most help, benefit the most.
Displaying Historical Health Data
One way to draw conclusions about where healthcare costs are going is to look in the past. Any effective health intelligence software worth its salt should be able to categorize and visualize the amount of money that members within a healthcare plan have spent within a predetermined time period. The past 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, and so on are all relevant segments of data for grouping members together to find health issues that can be tackled in an efficient manner. If an employer looks at last year’s data to find that a large number of the members were treated for the flu, the health management team can take proactive steps before flu season rolls around to make medicine, vaccinations, and sick days available before the virus has a chance to become a problem.
Diagnosing Employee Gaps in Care
Gaps in employee healthcare are one of the biggest, and most preventable, problems in today’s employers and therefore, should be a huge differentiator when looking for the right health intelligence product. Defined simply, gaps in care refer to the periods between when a member has been diagnosed with a chronic ailment, and that member isn’t following the prescribed course of care. For example, if an employee has hypertension or high blood pressure, but isn’t taking the medicine to help regulate it, they have a gap in their care.
Being able to quickly identify and rectify these gaps is crucial to avoiding larger healthcare costs down the road if that employee’s hypertension turns into a larger issue because it wasn’t being treated. A good medical intelligence solution should be able to turn out these numbers in an easy to understand way.
Analyzing and Reporting
Some people are better at numbers than others, but analyzing and synthesizing the entirety of an employee population’s healthcare data into an actionable plan for an employee population is a tall task. That’s why one of the biggest needs from a health intelligence software (sometimes known as a health analytics software) is the ability to take in data and analyze the numbers behind it.
Once the data has been digested and explained through the intelligence tool’s analytics engine, it should be able to explain it in a coherent way—otherwise known as a report. Health intelligence data is useful within the platform where it is created, but a proper tool can take that information and build a report that can explain its focus to a manager, employee, or C-Suite executive who might not be spending all day in the weeds on employee healthcare.
Forecasting Future Healthcare Spend
Analyzing data is one thing, but there are certain healthcare intelligence software offerings that take those analytics to the next level by forecasing them into the future. By taking a look at the available data sets, certain predictions can start to be made about what health issues employees will be dealing with in the future, and how much it’s going to cost the company in claims. There are plenty of factors to take into account when making those predictions, but good forecasting empowers wellness professionals to tell their COO or CFO what the upcoming costs for healthcare will be, as well as how they can control that spend. For companies who self-fund their insurance programs, this could mean money back in their pocket by preventing employee claims. This is where much of the return on an investment in a health intelligence tool comes from.
At the end of it all, simply acquiring healthcare data is only half the battle. The previously listed features help to answer the question that inevitably comes next, “so what next?” Equipped with the right health intelligence platform with the right features, any organization can take steps to fight the rising cost of healthcare.