Health intelligence at first seems to be one of those two-word phrases where the end definition means less than the sum of its parts, but it’s something that forward-thinking employers need to fully understand. Before we even consider health intelligence in context of a software platform like Springbuk, it is important to take a step back and take a closer look at the central idea that underpins this tool we are offering to forward-thinking employers, brokers, and wellness professionals.
This post dives a little bit deeper into what we mean when we use the term “health intelligence” and how it can get wrapped up in the larger discussion of health analytics and health data. If you’re interested in learning more about what makes our health intelligence platform unique, request a demo today.
Unfortunately, Merriam Webster doesn’t give us an easy way to settle this discussion by giving us a definition for health intelligence, but we can start with the meaning of the word “intelligence” itself:
(2) the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (such as tests)
The key point here is the “ability” to apply knowledge. When looking at other terms that health intelligence is often associated with, the difference is action. A person with access to a level of high health intelligence, whether through their own knowledge or a software solution, can act on that information and make changes to the populations they serve.
When employers and wellness professionals have access to the right health data, there’s a huge amount of health intelligence examples that they can pull. Identifying and addressing employee gaps in care is a great example of health intelligence because it isn’t drawn from just one data point, it’s a mixture of data and human behavior that tells a bigger story. This is where platforms like Springbuk can help in the health intelligence department, empowering employers, consultants, and wellness professionals with the right data and courses of action to enact real change for their teams.
Taking all of that into account, we can summarize the definition of health intelligence as, “the ability to aggregate and apply health knowledge in order to affect the health of an individual person or group of people.” The heart of this term gets to the actions that someone with a high health intelligence can accomplish with the right sets of data, like the options laid out for a wellness professional who has the data to show that their population is high in hypertension. Their level of health intelligence will lead them to understand and adapt to the context surrounding that situation, and help them to choose the best course of action going forward.
Health analytics is closely related to, but not quite the same as health intelligence. Health analytics and health data are the bedrock that holds up health intelligence. Without the aggregation and analysis of data, there would be no pool from which to draw intelligent conclusions. Analytics can show a list of members that have chronic health issues and show their historic treatment plans, but intelligence is taking that a step further and suggesting targeted treatment and strategies to reduce the overall number of health issues.
Health analytics, and most analytics in general, are only half the battle. Health intelligence is the ability to turn the analytical data into something useful and impactful for employees.
When looking to take that next step, there are a few key features that you should look out for if you are searching for a health intelligence platform:
Does this platform have the ability to consume real-time data?
Health analytics software presents historic data, limiting the ability for employers to make relevant and impactful changes for their population of today.
Does this platform offer insights? Or just data?
A mountain of numbers can be intimidating when not presented in the right way. Make sure your health intelligence software distills information for you to gain insights into what the numbers mean, rather than just the data itself.
Can this platform forecast data?
Armed with the right analytics engine, health intelligence platforms use your employee health data to draw conclusions and forecast health costs going forward. This can be extremely useful for teams looking to contain or control healthcare costs by making small changes.
Interested in learning how proper health intelligence can transform your health benefits? Request a demo of Springbuk.
If you want to stay up-to-date with your health intelligence, subscribe to our Springbuk Insights series. It’s a bi-weekly email series providing you with all of the most current information on health analytics on the web.