Data Analytics; So What?

July 12, 2017

If you knew which preventable risks were responsible for major revenue and productivity losses, what would you do?

For years, business leaders inherently knew that to be successful, they must proactively search for, identify and address risk.  Ignoring that pesky “engine light” can prove to be disastrous and costly.   As a business leader, if you knew which preventable risks were responsible for major revenue and productivity losses, what would you do?

Well, when it comes to chronic health, we have a pretty good idea.  Eight lifestyle behaviors drive 15 conditions that lead to 70+% of Chronic Healthcare costs.

Healthcare costs are truly the tip of the iceberg when considering the “total cost of poor health”.  Lost productivity due to poor health accounts for nearly two-thirds of the total cost.  Think back to the last time you came to work not feeling well, how well do you perform with that massive headache or back pain, those horrible allergies or the flu? The impact is real and very costly.

In today’s world, data collection is everywhere, including our health related data.  Not only is it being collected from a variety of sources, it is being analyzed, and then used to better assess how health risks contribute to the “total cost of poor health”.  In other words, and in many cases, we know what is causing the “engine light” to come on.  Now what?

First let’s look at a few necessary steps.

Burden of Illness (BOI) represents identifying risk.  If you don’t know was is broken, how can you fix it?  Ignoring BOI will lead to a loss of productivity, revenue, quality of life and quality time with family, friends and co-workers.

“If the engine light fuse is removed, the light won’t come on”.

Cost of Inaction (COI) represents not looking for or ignoring identified risks and recommendations.  You know it’s broken but hope it will fix itself.  Embracing the COI will lead to a loss of productivity, revenue, quality of life and quality time with family, friends and co-workers.

 “Out of nowhere, my car just quit on me”

Value on Investment (VOI) represents acknowledgement of risks & recommendations and a proactive call to action.  Believing there is VOI with a healthier workforce and community can lead to increased productivity, revenue, quality of life and quality of time with family, friends and co-workers.

“So glad I had my car checked out and repaired”.

So where can you get data and what types can help build or expand your wellness strategy?  Well, your insurance carrier or benefits brokers normally have access to different types of data and might be able to provide an analysis on how it relates to the Burden Of Illness.

Some examples of data that may be available include:

  • Modifiable Risks ie: Physical inactivity, poor sleep, Tobacco etc.
  • Gaps in care.  ie: unfilled prescriptions needed to treat diabetes
  • Missed Preventive care exams.
  • Biometric values.
  • Health Assessments.
  • Pharmaceutical utilization.
  • Out of network utilization.

Once you have the data, what can you do with the information?  Essentially you have 2 choices.

  1. Ignore it and accept the Cost of Inaction (COI). “Don’t know why my car just stopped”.
  2. Act. “There is a good reason why this light comes on, I better pay attention to it”.

For employers looking to have greater insight into their healthcare utilization and risk profile, Wellness Coaches offers a software solution that can compile data from healthcare, prescription, health assessment, coaching and bio-metric sources to deliver aggregate employee health information, trends and forecasts from a single portal.  When integrated with our onsite coaching, the software is used by our coaches to quickly identify and respond to risky diagnosis categories, diseases or conditions, gaps in care, and cost trends. The data will also allow our coaches to have better informed interactions with employees, thus, assuring you are always proactively tackling your most serious and costly issues.