According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans use preventive healthcare at half the recommended rate. Health plans have been working to close these gaps in screenings and immunizations by investing heavily in data analysis and outreach programs but, as the numbers show, there are still opportunities to do much more.
A new BioIQ white paper, Finding People in the Gaps: Delivering Better Preventive Care by Humanizing the Problem, the Solutions and Data We Use to Reach Patients, explains how health plans can use advanced data analytics to better understand individual members and the barriers that keep them from getting care. This knowledge can help plans deliver tailored interventions that close the gaps.
The new white paper begins by acknowledging one of the biggest challenges health plans face: how to convince members, especially those with the greatest health risks, to get care. Sending reminders by mail, email, text and IVR has a notoriously low success rate. Frustrated, health plans grapple over whether their messages aren’t resonating with members, or if people simply fail to act in their own self-interest.
BioIQ’s white paper re-frames the problem: People want care, and they may know they need it. The next step is for health plans to use data to understand more about individual members, and then tailor preventive care so that it’s easier for them to consume.
According to Joshua Sclar, MD, MPH and BioIQ’s chief medical officer, changing the way we look at healthcare gaps is a first step toward closing them. Instead of wondering why some members resist our best efforts, we need to shift our focus toward helping them get a difficult job done. “Take colon cancer screening, for example,” says Sclar. “No one wants cancer. It’s something everyone takes seriously. People sometimes need help overcoming confusion and fear, which can prevent them from getting that cancer screening. But a lot of the time they really just need an easier way to get screened. We have not made it easy, by anyone’s measure, to get screened in today’s healthcare system.”
The new white paper explains how health plans can use data to predict health risks on a community level, then go granular enough to reveal the kinds of interventions—from local pharmacy visits to at-home test kits and workplace events—that are most likely to help individual members get care.
Beyond learning how to reach people, the data can also help health plans predict who will and won’t close gaps on their own, which allows plans to allocate resources for the most impact. For example, when advanced analytics predict that someone is both likely to benefit from a gap closure and unlikely to respond, plans can dedicate the most expensive, higher-touch resources right away.
“Data analytics is about predicting the future—who will benefit from an intervention, and how we can help them take the steps they need,” explains Carrie Cowdin, BioIQ’s senior vice president of client analytics. “Closing healthcare gaps is life-and-death, just as much as good health behaviors. When we reach people in time, in the right way, we can save their lives.”