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For health plan, SAS® Analytics is foundation for change

Independent Health creating an analytics culture to deal with US reform and industry changes

CARY, NC  (19. Jul. 2011)  – Like every US healthcare benefits provider, Independent Health sees business fundamentally changing as reform progresses. Independent Health's leaders well understand that health analytics are the key to post-reform success, which demands a transition from a business-to-business model to a consumer-driven enterprise.

The Western New York company recently deployed advanced analytics from SAS to transform its business, by better understanding the new market and determining the best products and services. Independent Health now uses SAS, the leader in business analytics software and services, to explore historic business trends. 

"Independent Health has been analyzing and reporting data for years, but we needed to see what actions the data tells us to take and what we can actually do," said Allen Naidoo, PhD, Vice President of Business and Clinical Informatics at Independent Health. "We will use SAS® analytics to better health outcomes, improve physician relationships and thoroughly understand our customers."

Naidoo said that optimal information use is critical to the company, which is creating an information competency center to help employees benefit from analytics. Independent has also formed an information governance council to establish policies, procedures and data-use guidelines as it extends analytics enterprise-wide. 

Mandate for change

Avery Earwood, Independent Health's Director of Best Practices Solutions, says the company's transformation to an analytics culture and increasing use of SAS Analytics is driven by three factors: government-mandated health reform, an unsustainable cost model and an aging population.

"The current climate requires us to fundamentally change the way we do business; analytics are a required ingredient in our transformation," said Earwood. "It's one thing to have information at your fingertips. It's another to use that information effectively. SAS Analytics make that difference." 

To ease the progress to an analytics foundation, Independent Health will gradually deploy SAS Analytics throughout the organization. 

"For health plans like Independent Health to remake themselves into analytic-centered organizations is a process," said Sarah Rittman, Senior Industry Consultant with the SAS Center for Health Analytics and Insights (CHAI). "Because this transformation is essential to long-term success, health plans need to begin well before the 2014 government mandate for health exchanges. SAS can help with the process."

Earwood acknowledges that the changes involve more than technology. "It's about people and processes," he added. "The SAS people understood what we were trying to accomplish. It was almost turnkey."

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