For many people these days, having multiple social media accounts is too much information and updating to keep track of for one person. That kind of difficulty with technology only ramps up when you put a new layer of importance on it, say for instance, an organization’s HR manager trying to get a grip on multiple healthcare technology vendors. There’s just so much to know and understand in each one of those technologies, and that’s before you start to factor in whether or not all the separate technologies work together.

As difficult as it can be, it’s also critically important when it comes to today’s healthcare tech. Within these “stacks”, separate technology solutions are built to transfer data to another software once it’s reached the end of its capabilities. To keep data from being siloed, it’s imperative that you bring together a collection of software solutions that solve a higher purpose than measuring marketing performance, for example. The health technology stack is made for improving health outcomes and containing costs.

As the number of choices continues to grow, it’s important for benefits professionals to take a step back and identify which pieces of these new health technologies they need, but more importantly: why they need them. Let’s take a look at each section of the larger Healthcare Tech Stack and understand things a little deeper.

Healthcare Data Integration

This is the beginning and end of your healthcare data, so you can already see why it’s critically important to get this part right. Technologies in the integration stage will make sure that the data gets from your health carrier toward the destination it needs to go. Think of integration technologies and vendors as the pipes that bring water to different parts of your house.

The main pieces of plumbing in this stage are the health carriers themselves, electronic medical records, and wellness vendors. Carriers and wellness vendors are here because they are two areas where healthcare data is going to be created and sent down the funnel toward a more positive health outcome. Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are here because they are the funnel. Making sure that carrier data is being transmitted in a timely fashion to the wellness vendors through the proper EMR is a great way to start your healthcare tech stack.

Healthcare Data Storage

After that data has been created, it needs to be kept safe, according to the rules and regulations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act—otherwise known as HIPAA. The breach of someone’s healthcare data is a serious violation, but our latest move toward cloud storage and computation has made it difficult to be super secure, so finding the right vendor to take care of that is critically important for HR managers and their brokers. This includes a mixture of Data Loss Prevention vendors, Cloud Security Solutions, and Endpoint Detection and Response systems. Just one of these options would be enough to keep someone busy, but often all three if not more of these technologies needs to be leveraged to keep healthcare data safe during its lifetime.

Every one of these decisions affects the ability to access the data and what level of integration that data can have with other aspects of the tech funnel, so health and benefits professionals need to look at the entire health tech stack to make educated choices.

Healthcare Data Analysis

Data analysis is where HR managers and brokers have the chance to make a real impact with their healthcare data. The main sections of this area include:

  • Risk Indexing
  • Benchmarking
  • Forecasting
  • Health Intelligence

On their own, each of these is a separate function that employers and brokers can use to better understand the meaning behind healthcare data, but they really start to get interesting when used in conjunction with each other. Each one of these processes dissects a batch of healthcare data and pulls out the relevant information that teams can use to build better wellness programs, change benefits packages, and increase overall health outcomes.

Healthcare Data Usage

Finally, it’s time to put the money where the mouth is and actually use the healthcare data that the tech stack has been putting together so far. This is when HR teams need to line up the right treatment vendors so that their employees and members can benefit from the healthcare analysis that’s been going on. This is also the point in which healthcare data integrates into other pieces of technology that HR teams will be more familiar with; namely benefits administration software and employee engagement software.

This stage is really when the rubber hits the road in terms of putting all the healthcare data to work. Vendors and software in this usage category are going to be closely, if not directly, interfacing with employees to help change their habits, better their health, and in turn, lower employer healthcare costs in the long run. Improving employee health benefits the people and the company at the same time, and that’s why the healthcare tech stack is ultimately necessary for modern HR teams.