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How to formulate a data analysis strategy

By David Aquilina

How to formulate a data analysis strategy

Data analysis is a powerful weapon in your battle to manage health care costs. Whilemany firms seek assistance in obtaining and analyzing health data from their insurance carriers, claims administrators, managed care plans, vendors and consultants, the results aren't alwayssatisfactory.

Available data reports may not answer your priority health cost management questions. To get the most useful information from analysis, consider developing a corporate strategy.

Coming up withquestions

The first step in creating a data analysis strategy is to formulate the questions you want your health data to answer. This may seem obvious, but it's surprising how many employersembark on health data projects without a clear sense of what their priority questions are.

It is important to begin by outlining corporate health care cost management questions because most employeebenefits managers are not experts in data analysis.

Most employee benefits managers and staff can, however, define their basic cost management problems and goals. With a general understanding ofproblems and goals, they can outline the strategic questions that will yield information to guide cost management decisions.

Building a data analysis strategy on the foundation of priority questions isthe key to ensuring that resulting analysis will meet an employer's needs. Thus, if a company needs help in translating cost management issues and objectives into strategic analysis questions, it iscritical to get assistance before starting a data analysis project.

What to ask

Health data analysis can be useful in providing an overview assessment of employers' utilization and cost patterns.Most employers now have access to such information from their insurance carriers, third-party administrators, and managed care plans.

Assessment analysis focuses on familiar, basic measures such...
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