The federal government and major insurance companies are encouraging businesses to leverage data mining to improve employee health outcomes, Politico reported.
The source explained that the Affordable Care Act incentivizes businesses to offer wellness programs to their employees. Similarly, insurance companies will often provide discounts or other benefits to companies that take steps to improve the overall quality of employee health. Data mining is playing a key role in such efforts, as these strategies enable organizations to identify those individuals who are most at risk of developing medical complications and health problems down the road.
These efforts can prove extremely successful. The news source noted that data scientists recently used claims data and electronic health records to examine 37,000 employees at a major corporation. These scientists were able to predict which employees would develop diabetes within a year with a nearly perfect track record.
By applying data mining techniques to their own employees, companies can encourage workers to take proactive steps to reduce health risks.
The influence of Electronic Health Records
The rise in data mining in this field is due to a number of factors, but perhaps none has proved as important as the adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHR).
"The adoption of electronic health records has increased the amount of information available to employers and providers and health plans," explained Kulleni Gebreyes, director of the Health Industries Advisory group at PricewaterhouseCoopers, the news source reported. "You can mine the data to get the answers and make correlations you couldn't make before. And with the correlations, you address the root causes."
The federal government is also focusing on health care data mining more directly. A recent survey from MeriTalk and EMC found that 63 percent of federal executives in the health care field believe data analytics will improve their ability to track and manage population health.