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The Truven Health Blog


The latest healthcare topics from a trusted, proven, and unbiased source.


Four Analytic Trends for Health Plans in 2017


By Truven Staff/Wednesday, March 29, 2017

 

In the rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, health plans are recognizing the value of leveraging their vast data warehouses to help define their business models. But, without a strong analytics tool, many organizations may miss critical opportunities to excel against their competitors. We offer our view of four trends facing health plans this year, and how they can use analytics to help achieve better results:

Strategic and operational leaders need fast access to reliable information. But as information needs and data sources expand, health plans may become more challenged to quickly and accurately analyze their vast amounts of data. Embedding robust enterprise analytics solutions directly in the data warehouse environment may enable IT and analytics teams to deliver greater value more quickly to business users.

With increasing price transparency throughout healthcare, savvy patients may “shop” providers to find more cost-effective options for treatments. This, in turn, may drive down costs and force health plans to reevaluate contracts and renegotiate prices. Analytic solutions can help you gain greater insight into your data and determine a better route to profitability.

It’s no longer enough to have the right team in place to foster success. Organizations should also seek on cross-team collaboration - particularly when it comes to deriving value from data. A comprehensive analytics platform may offer teams from IT and Informatics to Care Management and Actuarial Underwriting the tools they need to collaborate for maximum productivity.

While health plans are collecting data in large quantities, they may not see a clear path to extract important insights. At the same time, these organizations are putting more emphasis on social determinants as a forecaster for medical issues. Predictive analytic solutions may provide health plans with better ability to take a deep look at data and create models for cost risks among different populations.

Leverage the power of Portable Analytics from Truven Health Analytics to get deeper into your data and provide valuable insights that could help make the difference in your business this year. Contact us to learn more about Portable Analytics and its applications for your organization.

 

Source: Analytics Magazine, 2016


Health Plans: Choose Your Initial Validation Audit Vendor Wisely


By Anita Nair Hartman/Tuesday, March 21, 2017


For health plans, the time to select an initial validation audit (IVA) vendor is drawing near. Selecting a qualified vendor should be a thoughtful and informed process. If the audit shows a plan’s EDGE data are not valid and have risk score-impacting errors, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) may act to scale down the plan’s premium risk transfer payments, which may incur negative results for the plan’s financial performance. As a CMS-accepted IVA entity, we’ve been partnering with health plans to meet this requirement since the law was implemented.

CMS developed IVA requirements to help ensure that accurate and complete membership and risk adjustment information is submitted by health plans to the EDGE servers for eventual payment transfer calculations. According to the regulations, qualified commercial health plans must have an independent auditor with certified coders review medical records for 200 random members (or less if the Finite Population Analysis applies to the issuer) selected by CMS and must validate the enrollment and the diagnosis codes submitted. The deadline to select a vendor for this year is April 28, 2017.

 Medical records review is a critical part of the validation process, so health plans should consider experience and certification when selecting a vendor. Some other important qualities to look for in an IVA vendor are:

●      Deep knowledge of ACA regulations. A vendor should have a history of monitoring, evaluating, and influencing the changing ACA requirements.

●      Data, analytics, and auditing experience. A long history analyzing large claims databases and auditing healthcare claims, and prior experience with CMS-mandated reporting, are critical experiences.

●      Experience with EDGE servers. To efficiently audit EDGE data, the vendor needs experience with EDGE data format and content, and in processing large amounts of data.

●      Risk and reinsurance expertise. Look for an auditor with experience with risk models.

●      Flexible approach. This is not a completely straightforward process. Every health plan is different, and your vendor should be able to implement a solution to meet a health plan’s specific needs.

●      Certified coders. This one is straightforward. By law, the coders must be certified by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) or the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).

●      An IVA Approved by CMS. Plans must choose from a list of CMS-accepted entities.

Selecting an experienced and qualified partner to support the IVA will help give health plans peace of mind in managing the IVA requirements. If complying with CMS’s EDGE server requirements is taxing your organization’s resources, it’s time to consider partnering with a qualified EDGE server administrator, and IVA vendor, so you can get back to the business of offering quality health care. Contact us to learn more.

Anita Nair-Hartman, Senior Vice President, Payer Strategy and Business Operations
Bryan Briegel, Healthcare Reform Solutions Specialist


The Effects of Telecommuting Intensity on Employee Health

Chosen as AJHP Editor’s Pick for 2016


By Truven Staff/Friday, March 10, 2017

 

The number of employees who take advantage of telecommuting has increased substantially in recent years - especially with the improvements in technology and the increasing demand for more flexible work schedules. The Effects of Telecommuting Intensity on Employee Health, recently chosen as Editor’s Pick for 2016 by the American Journal of Health Promotion (AJHP), highlights how the employees at Prudential Financial, a company with a long history in promoting work flexibility are affected by telecommuting - specifically in relation to their overall health.

Over a two-year period, Prudential Financial, in partnership with Truven Health Analytics®, IBM Watson Health™ analyzed the amount of time employees spent telecommuting and what potential health risks arose because of it, including depression, stress, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, tobacco use, alcohol abuse, and obesity.

The research suggested that telecommuters had a lower risk of developing many medical ailments, including obesity, alcohol abuse, physical inactivity, and tobacco use. The study also found evidence that employees who engage in a small number of telecommuting hours were less likely to develop depression. While the study provided some evidence to suggest that flexibility with telecommuting has health benefits, maintaining some level of in-office work may help to strengthen spiritual and social health.

 Download the full study here.

 


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