Questions and Answers™

With Lee Williams, Sr. Data Scientist at Alera

Over the past few weeks, we’ve sat down with several of our experts for a series of blog posts to dive deeper into how our latest solution, Answers™, was built and what’s to come.


In the final installment of our series, we are joined by Lee Williams, Sr. Data Scientist at Alera, and 2020 Springbuk Health Intelligence Hero class member, to understand how he has been utilizing the new solution and how it’s changing his approach to employee benefits.


How long have you been using Answers™?

LW: I started using Answers in Beta towards the end of 2019. Having access to products like Answers was one of the reasons that Alera decided to partner with Springbuk as our preferred data partner. Answers was developed in conjunction with user feedback and has mechanisms to continue growing as the community expands. I can’t wait to see what is next for this powerful tool.


What are a few questions Answers has helped you find the facts for?
LW: Answers has powerful comparison and analysis tools for digging into the costs of procedures and how client-specific costs compare to national benchmarks. The key questions for me have been the costs of orthopedic procedures. Understanding these company-specific costs is essential in determining the “what now” for group costs. Given that many orthopedic procedures are not clinically necessary, these cost analyses provide the most credible methods for determining the potential avoidable claims which could be encountered by the plan in the next 12-24 months. This becomes even more powerful when paired steerage analytics found in the Insights™ tab.


What are/were you most excited about for this product?
LW: Before the introduction of Answers, I was required to research benchmarks and then perform manual calculations to understand cost trends. The process was time-consuming and had several points that were bias or incomplete data that could skew the results. Due to those limitations, I would perform the analysis behind closed doors and then have to engage carrier/vendor tools to validate the work I had already completed. That level of time commitment and the requirement to maintain perfect focus for increasingly long periods of time made the work incredibly difficult. With Answers, I can have the same level of detail in a client presentable format that has been verified and internally corroborated. The tool gives more time to investigate and implement solutions, rather than being tied down to tedious pen and paper analysis.


How do you think it will change your approach to employee benefits?
LW: Answers allows me to investigate common questions much faster. This means that during C-Suite meetings, I can get immediate answers rather than send them in after the meeting is over. Answers gives me the chance to focus on my highest payoff activities without sacrificing the types of analyses the client needs to make informed decisions for better plan management.


What is your favorite aspect of this product?

LW: While Answers is very intuitive and also features benchmark data, what I appreciate most is that Answers helps me to focus on my highest payoff activities rather than devoting days and hours to difficult math equations and trend tables. Answers is a gamechanger in how I am performing analytics.

See It In Action

Ready to see how Answers can equip you to make more informed, more impactful decisions – faster?