LHD is passionate about data. Why? Because data-driven decisions regarding health benefits plan offerings make for better business decisions that benefit your company and its most important resource of all—the people who are your employees. There is a vast array of health plan data analysis we can leverage into better results on your behalf, one of which is our census data analytics service.
The Importance of Population Health Data
The business impact on your company by way of the health of your workforce cannot be underestimated. In the face of ever-rising health care costs in the U.S. and the expenses related to employer-provided health benefit plans, it’s easy to lose sight of this essential fact. A healthier employee is happier, more loyal, more productive, and misses work less often. Rather than a narrow view of health benefits as a necessary and painful cost of doing business, it’s more productive to think of health benefits as an essential investment into building the high-performing workforce you need for long-term success. We also recognize what’s called for here is a tricky objective, which is finding the optimal mix of health insurance cost-containment while still doing right by the employees you depend on to give you their best day in and day out.
Census information for your workforce is an often-overlooked source of data that can be tapped for actionable insights. Demographic characteristics such as age, gender, family makeup, and even geographic information can all be cross-referenced with well-known social determinants of health to guide a more strategic approach to the health insurance benefits a business provides to its employees.
A Peek into the Role of Geographic Data and Health
While census data points such as age and gender have obvious connections to population health data and anticipating the types of claims likely to occur, innovation in this area can extend beyond those obvious data points. Take geographic data, for example. Why does it even come into play and how? The reason geographic data can be important is that each employee has an existence outside of working at your company. They are each a member of the community, and every community has its own characteristics that affect the access to and outcomes of the healthcare services people receive from providers.
Studies have shown there are in fact surprising correlations between health outcomes and both geographic location and other social determinants in a community. This kind of innovative approach to data analytics is what can allow for better anticipation and prevention of disease and chronic conditions. The visual impact of producing hot spot maps showing the prevalence of chronic conditions by geographic location within a community can be both revealing and alarming. If it ultimately results in an improvement in how health benefits are offered in your company, all the better. This kind of technical innovation in health data analytics is opening up many opportunities for businesses throughout the U.S. to be more strategic and effective with their health benefit plans. It also must be undertaken with the greatest care to protect patient confidentiality and avoid unethical applications of such data analysis.
Improving Census Data Collection Through Health Plans
Improvement in the usefulness of leveraging population health census data comes with better data collection, especially when it comes to race, ethnicity, and language data. Hospitals, community health centers (CHCs), and other healthcare providers may or may not be collecting good data, and even when they do, what they can do with it is rather limited because of patient privacy concerns, rules, and regulations. Policies and practices have simply not kept up with what all this data can offer, which are insights into quality improvement in health outcomes. It’s frustrating when the free sharing of essential data through electronic health records is either hampered or made impossible even when the ultimate aim is better health for everyone.
Employer provided health plans, however, do tend to have a bit more leeway in collecting this kind of data, and should do so whenever possible. One example would be allowing employees to self-identify various demographic characteristics during open enrollment in the company health plan. This data can then be leveraged into quality improvement interventions and measurement.
This kind of data collection through employer health plans is in fact explicitly allowed in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) in the enrollment standard section of the law. For a long time, no one saw the opportunity in this data, but smart approaches to health benefits will and should make use of it. At LHD we view this kind of population health data analytics as an essential practice to get better health outcomes for a company’s workforce because the business benefits far outweigh the business costs over time.
LHD: A Trusted Partner for Data-Driven Health Benefit Plans
Our passion for data analytics at LHD leaves no stone unturned in the quest for better information leading to proactive, data-driven actionable insights for optimal and high-performing health benefit plans at businesses throughout the U.S. We’ve been a fiercely independent insurance agency and benefits advisory since 1999 because it allows us to put the needs of our clients first, not the needs of private equity and other stakeholders. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a team who works harder on your behalf than the assembled professional experts at LHD.
Our core values include collaboration, trust, innovation, and excellence. Let us put our expertise and passion to work for your company to experience what a difference our approach can make. Get in touch through the Contact page of our website, call us directly at 371.751.7049, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to meeting and working with you.