Blue Health Intelligence’s CEO Reveals Claims Data Show True Impact of COVID-19, and How New Analytics Approaches Can Help Address Healthcare Challenges

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CHICAGO (June 25, 2020) – Swati Abbott, CEO of Blue Health Intelligence® (BHI®), detailed the company’s wide-ranging efforts to help Blue Plans effectively respond to the challenges of COVID-19 in an address to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s National Council of Physician and Pharmacist Executives (NCPE) meeting earlier today. She also discussed how BHI is taking a novel approach to healthcare risk identification and stratification, including how healthcare inequities are factored into BHI’s predictive and prescriptive modeling.

“The novel coronavirus is severely testing every aspect of our healthcare system,” Abbott said. “To help, BHI is creatively using the power of our national database and deep analytic capabilities to track emerging trends and identify patients most at-risk of hospitalization and mortality from COVID-19 while supporting research that will examine the longer-term impacts of the virus.”

Abbott shared recently released national data from March and April that demonstrate the real-world impact COVID-19 has had on preventive healthcare services, telehealth, and inpatient hospital diagnoses. In April, preventive care services fell by 65% from the same month a year earlier.

While a steep drop in elective surgeries, such as joint replacement, was not surprising, unexpected findings in BHI research included lower rates of admissions for seizures and concussions, which may point to a positive impact from sheltering at home. Other more pressing care needs seem to have been delayed by fears of the coronavirus. For example, diagnostic mammograms plummeted by more than 73% in April from the same month in 2019.

At the same time, BHI’s data shows a surge in telehealth services, made possible by regulatory changes and waived co-pays, has been profound – rising from around one visit per 1,000 patient encounters in February to 50 visits per 1,000 just two months later.

BHI also is examining the micro impacts of COVID-19 through its Whyzen employer analytics and reporting solution, which rapidly transmits practical and clinically relevant COVID-19 analytics to health plans, employers, and brokers. Through Whyzen, stakeholders can:

  • Identify members/employees most at risk of adverse outcomes if they contract COVID-19. Whyzen automatically assigns employees and dependents to risk categories based on their number of underlying conditions and isolates the health conditions that place patients at higher risk for severe infection, such as morbid obesity and lung disease.
  • Track COVID-19 and exposure/possible exposure cases and associated costs/utilization by time, geography, and other demographic variables.
  • Analyze the impact of complications on cost, use, and outcomes for patients with COVID-19.

Abbott also described BHI’s new approach to risk identification and stratification using predictive and prescriptive analytics. By harnessing ensemble methods – meta-algorithms that combine several machine learning techniques into one predictive model – BHI is improving the accuracy of its predictions. BHI’s novel approach to risk identification and stratification reflects the company’s investments in understanding the myriad of healthcare inequities faced by people of different races and ethnicities.

“We are delivering unbiased predictions that look beyond costs and fairly assess health resource needs,” Abbott said.

About Blue Health Intelligence

Leveraging the power of medical and pharmacy claims data from more than 200 million Americans, Blue Health Intelligence® (BHI®) delivers insights that empower healthcare organizations to improve care, reduce costs, and optimize performance. With the largest, most up-to-date, and uniform data set in healthcare, BHI provides an accurate representation of the health profile of commercially insured Americans. Our team of data analysts, clinicians, IT experts, and epidemiologists provide analytics, software-as-a-service, and in-depth consulting to payers, providers, employers, medical device companies, and other healthcare stakeholders. BHI is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and carries the trade name of Health Intelligence Company, LLC. For more information, visit www.bluehealthintelligence.com.