Healthcare executives need to know what works to make better, faster decisions.

Companies such as Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft, Netflix and Capital One run tens of thousands of experiments each year to pinpoint which products and programs work. They have to because they can’t afford to waste time and money on investments that don’t deliver revenue or cost savings. Collectively they’ve uncovered hundreds of millions of dollars of value by making decisions faster about what works and what’s a waste of time. And with Amazon’s recent entry into the healthcare space, health plans have no choice but to build effective test and learn capabilities and strong cultures of experimentation. Data-driven disruption just came from something looming on the horizon to knock on the front door.

Can you confidently and quickly isolate which of your programs are driving impact so you can optimize them ?

That was one of the key questions on the minds of healthcare executives at the 36th Annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference that took place January 8-11, 2018 in San Francisco, CA.

NextHealth Technologies attended the conference and co-hosted a dinner with Deloitte and Norwest Venture Partners for national and regional plan executives to discuss affordability and how plans can tackle the unsustainable cost environment.

Two key themes emerged from the conference and dinner event:

1. Urgent need to know what works

Attendees at the dinner agreed there is an urgent need to better know what is working when it comes to reducing costs and engaging members. Yet plan executives and investors polled at the conference felt that health plans in general are struggling to prove ROI of all their investments. Which ones are worth the effort and which are a waste of time?

Plans are trying desperately to halt the tsunami of rising costs and in the rush to try many things at once, may actually be driving up costs by investing in programs that don’t work. The net result is an environment that fails to generate the critical insights about which investments work, which investments are a waste of precious resources and why.

By running tests to prove what works and what doesn’t you’ll widen your band of confidence to make better decisions, faster.

2. Differing levels of analytics maturity

When it comes to data and analytics – a key focus for healthcare executives in 2018 – there were widely diverse levels of maturity.  Some attendees and plan executives are working on data cleanliness and integrity while others have already invested “into the nine figures” in toolsets and programs aimed at tackling the affordability challenge.

Even if they don’t have perfect data today, plans agree there’s a pressing need to start using the data they currently have to move towards a test and learn culture and focus on knowing what works. The stakes are too high to not know what works.

Start today to make ROI and measurement part of your culture while you continue to take concrete steps toward cleaner data and personalized analytics.

NextHealth’s Perspective

  • Unlock transformative value by making better decisions faster

The current environment of trying everything in hopes that something works is unsustainable. The data and analytics horsepower currently exists so that healthplans can affordably prove which interventions and programs drive down costs within a matter of weeks. Solutions such as NextHealth easily augment and amplify current analytics programs to isolate and increase what works faster.

  • Create a culture of analytics

Adopt a posture of measure, know and optimize. Plan executives need to measure their efforts to know what works and then optimize their investments to do more of what they know works. It all starts by creating a culture of experimentation and analytics. It doesn’t matter where you are on the maturity curve – what matters is that you start testing and start learning. “By running tests to prove what works and what doesn’t,” said NextHealth CEO Eric Grossman, “you’ll widen your band of confidence to make better decisions, faster.”

It doesn’t matter where you are on the maturity curve – what matters is that you start testing and start learning.

  • Start wherever you are

Attendees at the conference and the roundtable dinner represented multiple points along the spectrum of data and analytics maturity. Some had already invested millions of dollars in programs and tests around consumer engagement. Some were still focused on cleaning up their data warehouses to ensure they had good data for personalization. Start where you are and move toward formalizing tests, learn from the results to know what works, do more of what works and scale those programs for cost saving across the entire business.

  • Optimize for what you know works

The crux of the opportunity is less about data quality debates and more about discussions of how to build a culture that is willing to make decisions and optimize based on what works. A true measure of a culture of innovation is the ability to drive value from what works and being unafraid to turn off what doesn’t and try again.

Once you have good data to measure what works and know what is effective then it’s time to optimize for what works. By now many people are familiar with the Facebook/ Snapchat rivalry where Facebook copied the popular Stories feature of Snapchat soon after parent company Snap went public. The net result was and continues to be devastating competitive pressure for Snap.

What many people don’t realize is that Facebook began it’s assault on Snap in France with a small test. The company rolled out a test of the Stories feature, proved that it worked and then started to scale to the larger Facebook platform. But even then it wasn’t a sure thing. It took multiple (failed) iterations to figure out the right combination of features and placement before the feature won widespread adoption.

The company didn’t stop running tests and trying new combinations until it found the one that worked and could prove it with test data.

NextHealth provides the scientific rigor and analytical insight to help plan executives know what works to reduce costs at scale.

See how the NextHealth analytics solution reduced avoidable emergency room visits by 25%.