Anthem taps retail industry for data analytics expertise

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Anthem uses a single integrated data warehouse to store information about members drawn from multiple sources. (Matthew Hurst/CC BY-SA 2.0)

As it turns to data analytics in a bid to better serve its customers, Anthem is borrowing insights from an industry that has arguably done it best: retail.

Retail companies are already adept at using data collection to create personalized, seamless experiences for customers, notes an article from HealthITAnalytics. That’s precisely what Anthem wants to emulate as healthcare shifts to a more service-oriented industry, Patrick McIntyre, Anthem’s senior vice president of healthcare analytics, told the publication.

Thus, “I would say about 70% or 80% of our data science department was actually brought in from the retail industry,” he said.

These experts are helping Anthem harness machine learning, artificial intelligence and even natural language processing as it strives to create a frictionless experience for members as they engage with the company. 

RELATED: How Anthem is driving IT change with its Innovation Studio

Anthem uses a single integrated data warehouse to store information about members drawn from claims data, clinical data, electronic health records, lab results and other key data sets, McIntyre said. Analysts at the company can then use that data to segment the population and identify opportunities for messaging, coaching or additional services to improve health.

Anthem also shares this data with providers that are part of its value-based payment programs, allowing them to better meet each patient’s unique needs. And in keeping with the “frictionless” experience concept, Anthem has systems in place to ensure that members don’t receive duplicate messaging from both payer and provider.

Anthem is hardly the only insurer, however, to embrace analytics for business purposes. Because of Humana’s increasing focus on putting key data insights in providers’ hands, “sometimes I think we’re becoming more of a data analytics company than anything else,” Chief Medical Officer Roy Beveridge, M.D., previously told FierceHealthcare.

In addition, Oscar Health recently launched a new machine-learning tool that is designed to take all the patient data it collects and synthesize it into a dashboard that fits seamlessly into physicians’ workflow.