Leveraging Health Data Insights to Unlock Opportunities for Growth

In today’s competitive healthcare landscape, health systems are searching for new ways to attract and retain patients. Currently, 81 percent of patients are unsatisfied with their healthcare experience – which may explain why almost half of US adults between the ages of 23 and 53 are seeking a new healthcare provider. 

I’ll pause to let that sink in.

Almost half of US adults between the ages of 23 and 53 (aka predominantly commercially insured patients) are seeking a new healthcare provider.

As a result, healthcare systems must focus on creating campaigns that satisfy existing patients while attracting new patients into the practice. This requires in-depth, targeted data to attain a new level of business intelligence.

Before turning healthcare data into insights, it’s necessary to eliminate data silos. These silos exist when sets of data are confined to a few departments in the organization and/or cannot be combined in meaningful ways. This creates a fragmented data environment where it’s difficult to point your health system’s overall strategy in the right direction, and even more difficult to reach a consensus on that strategy.

The best way to eliminate silos and realign your big-picture goals is by taking advantage of today’s technology. A centralized data repository – like the Evariant Insights Business Planner – allows you to synthesize vast quantities of information into digestible insights that recommend your best next action. This business intelligence tool creates a comprehensive collection of consumer, patient demographic, physician, and clinical encounter data. Advanced data analytics can then be overlaid that further triangulate across these data sources.

After breaking down data silos, you’ll be able to identify patterns and trends to pinpoint growth opportunities. Let’s take a look at a few ways healthcare stakeholders can use data insights from a business intelligence tool like Business Planner to reduce the time from question-to-strategy from months to hours.

Find Your Best Next Action

Healthcare organizations should begin to identify opportunities by asking themselves a top-line question that aligns with overarching business goals. For example, “How do I grow market share by 2 percent?” Or, “How do I reduce patient attrition by 5 percent?” This is necessary in order to begin to define your target audience and hone in on the types of opportunities that carry the greatest overall value. By having a comprehensive view of market dynamics and available opportunities, your organization can evaluate which activities will engage these customers – informing the Best Next Action.

Since many consumers make their healthcare choices based on proximity, business users often evaluate opportunities in light of geographic location. When using Business Planner to pinpoint the Best Next Action, the user can begin by selecting a standard/organizationally defined service area or a previously created/saved set of ZIPs or counties. As an alternative, the user can create a geography on-the-fly for the particular analysis at hand. Similarly, the user can select standard service line definitions, configure previously saved service lines, or create net new definitions (with the ability to customize at a clinical code level) for further investigation. 

For a marketer, this identifies consumers in a geographical area who have a high propensity for your health system’s chosen service line or procedure, with an understanding of current market activity and referring physician loyalty. 

For a physician liaison, this can be used to determine which providers have the most potential to drive referrals to your health system based on not only past referral activity but also the volume of consumers that are likely to need the service.

Imagine a marketer who must choose between promoting cardiac or orthopedic care. Upon examination of both service lines, he or she may find that there is far more demand for orthopedic care. Digging deeper, it appears that a large number of potential referring physicians are not loyal to your health system. Instead of simply running the campaign as the marketing might have in the past, this causes a pause to discuss strategy.

Is this the right investment? What support is necessary from the network development and liaison team? Alternatively, if the physicians are highly loyal, marketing can further explore the unique characteristics of the identified consumer segments. This information can then be leveraged to create targeted campaigns that are uniquely personalized to a target population.

Utilize Guided Discovery Pathways

After identifying the foundation of geographic regions with promising activity in a chosen service line, Business Planner will further guide you toward capturing the high-value opportunity. At this point, health systems can begin to take advantage of Business Planner’s Guided Discovery Pathways to further understand their most valuable targets for outreach. This functionality outlines opportunities for both physician and consumer initiatives by leveraging data multitude of robust market data sets, allowing your health system to develop hyper-target messages for the physicians and patients that are most relevant – and achieve better results with less spending.

There are three key directions to examine when evaluating discovery pathways – market consumer segmentation, market activity analysis, and referral analysis. Each of these analyses explores a different facet of the opportunity and can be interlayered to attain a multidimensional, comprehensive view of your next steps.

1. Market Consumer Segmentation

This discovery pathway allows you to compare people with a high propensity for a chosen condition against everyone else in the market. Through market consumer segmentation, your teams will get more granular demographic information and discover which forms of marketing the target segment is most likely to be receptive to. Overall, this provides a clear profile of people and households, enabling marketers to customize their strategy and create unique, personalized messages.

Let’s say a marketer is tasked with expanding their hospital’s cardiology service line: Upon examining the insights provided by Business Planner’s market consumer segmentation, he or she may find that the most promising geographical area contains a large volume of elderly patients who are receptive to messages about becoming more physically active to promote heart health. Then, the marketer can look at an “average” consumer profile in the same geography and see that typically consumers are more receptive to promotional offers via direct mail as opposed to search engines or digital apps.

With this information, the method, message, and channel for the campaign are all immediately evident: whereas the marketer may have originally thought a strategy utilizing direct mail would be effective based on a general understanding of the market, this segment-specific insight allows for optimizing the channel mix – and ultimately probability of enhanced ROI. 

2. Market Activity Analysis

This pathway summarizes current activity in a market, such as where people are being treated for certain conditions in your service line. A market activity analysis provides hotspots of activity down to the ZIP code level and allows users to leverage information around factors like seasonality – for instance, how many procedures are performed on a month by month basis throughout the course of a year. This information can be analyzed at a service line, subservice line, or even a procedural code level.

Here’s an example: A liaison wants to get more referrals to their infectious disease specialists. Noting year-over-year growth in diagnoses of Lyme Disease, the physician liaison looks in nearby geographical areas to find when these diagnoses are taking place. After performing a market activity analysis, the liaison notices that Lyme Disease cases spike in the months of June and July, while the chance of a diagnosis in winter months is rare. With this knowledge, the physician liaison plans outreach campaigns that begin in the spring – ensuring that your health system is top-of-mind when those physicians need to call on a specialist. 

3. Referral Analysis

With a referral analysis, your health system can further refine a target list of physicians who are most active in regards/related to a particular service line, procedure, etc. and thus high candidates for positively augmenting and influencing the overall growth strategy. This is especially useful for physician liaisons, as they can also better understand the referral patterns of these physicians by classifying them as “loyalists” or “splitters” – with loyal physicians rarely or never referring outside of their health system, and splitters more frequently sending patients to out-of-network providers. 

The definition of what makes a physician “loyal” or a “splitter” can be configured too. For example, your organization may consider a splitter to be someone that refers out of network 20 percent of the time, 40 percent of the time, or a different percentage entirely.

A health system may use this information when trying to find new patients for knee surgery under their orthopedic service line. These patients are often referred to a surgeon by their primary care physician – making PCPs a priority for the physician liaison team. The liaisons can conduct the referral analysis, find out which physicians are treating patients with knee injuries and narrow those physicians to target splitters only. With these filters applied, the end result will be a ‘Top Opportunity List’ that contains the names of physicians that could increase surgical volume with the right outreach strategy.

By layering these perspectives on top of each other, healthcare marketers, liaisons, and strategists can optimize their resources with data-backed decisions, evaluating their targets from multiple angles. By exploring these unique discovery pathways, your health system receives a comprehensive, targeted list of physicians and patients that guide your entire organization down market discovery pathways.

Align Strategy with Stakeholders

After asking a top-line question and uncovering the best next action via advanced data analysis in Business Planner, it’s time to communicate the findings to key stakeholders. Make sure they understand exactly how these insights translate into growth opportunities – and, ultimately, the dollar value behind it all. Unlike a vanilla CRM system, a comprehensive insights solution like Business Planner doesn’t just portray data in list form. Instead, Business Planner provides concrete analytics that can easily be visualized and understood by multiple stakeholders in the boardroom.

This is a refreshing alternative to the subjectivity and conjecture that have ruled health system board rooms in the past. With a visual, data-driven approach to data sharing, your organization will not fall victim to the misinformed or under-informed marketing decisions that plague many modern health systems. The insights from Business Planner also help align initiatives with the goals of stakeholders across departments, since the platform integrates data from so many different sources. 

By collecting data in one place and providing a visualized, data-driven analysis, your entire health system should be able to reach a consensus of fact – instead of reaching a consensus of opinion that tends to lead campaigns astray. 

Final Thoughts

To succeed in today’s increasingly competitive healthcare environment, health systems must leverage market intelligence as effectively as possible. By employing a robust business intelligence tool like Evariant Insights Business Planner, health systems can begin to identify critical details about their patients and their subsequent relationships with physicians. 

Best of all, Business Planner reveals these insights in a few short hours, as opposed to the months that would be required to analyze this data in the traditional manner. This results in quick wins that not only help the system’s bottom line but also points your organization’s strategy towards overarching, big-picture goals.

At the end of the day, a business intelligence tool can make or break a health system’s ability to grow, seize critical opportunities in the market, and gain a competitive edge.

Jessica Friedeman

Jessica Friedeman

Jessica Friedeman serves Evariant as Vice President, Product Marketing. Leveraging over a decade of experience in the healthcare industry, Jessica provides product, strategy and industry support so as to deliver solutions that maximize client’s marketing and organizational strategy. Jessica additionally served Evariant as Vice President, Solutions Engineering, lending technical support to the sales process. Prior to Evariant, she served as Director, Solutions Support at Truven Health Analytics (now IBM Watson Health), where she was responsible for ensuring the successful positioning and growth of the Marketing & Planning business lines.