Big Data Holds the Keys to Unlocking Barriers to Healthcare Cost and Quality

Swati Abbott Blog

There has been much discussion about the role of third parties and healthcare data. Healthcare data comes from a wide array of public, nonprofit, and for-profit sources. It is used for an equally broad set of purposes, including the delivery of higher-quality care and efficiency. Applying the modern tools of big data – such as predictive modeling and machine learning –helps unlock new treatments, assess the comparative effectiveness of competing technologies, contributes to better health plan designs, uncovers fraud and abuse, and reduces healthcare costs.

With the changes underway in Washington, D.C., and the unsustainable pace of healthcare inflation, big data is desperately needed. If we want solutions that save lives and improve quality, analysis must start at the patient level. Aggregation is the next step, and when we learn what works or doesn’t work for “the many,” we work across the entire healthcare system to bring solutions back to individuals.

As leaders of a company that has one of the largest repositories of healthcare data – comprised of more than 180 million lives – we have the unique power to learn from aggregated data in ways that better serve individuals who make up populations.

Unfortunately, we live in an era when every major data system is under threat from hackers. We at Blue Health Intelligence and our partners in the nation’s Blues Plans take huge precautions to secure and protect patient-level data. Ultimately, we believe the rewards of analyzing aggregated individuals to learn how to better improve care for each one of us far outweigh the risks.

For companies such as ours that do this work for a profit, the phrase “doing well by doing good” comes to mind. As an industry, our vigilance against data breaches must continually evolve and intensify, but the work we do in making the highest use of aggregated, anonymized patient-level data must continue.

About the Author
Swati Abbott

Swati Abbott

As CEO of BHI, Swati Abbott leads the efforts of Blue Health Intelligence to leverage data insights into innovative analytics solutions. This strategy includes extending the company’s reach to external audiences, while enhancing BHI’s value to Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.