Big Data: a timely arrival for Health Management

Alistair Dornan, 19 January 2015

In a business environment where Group Health & Risk costs are continually rising, employers are under pressure to keep costs on budget as well as offer a benefits package that attracts, retains and engages employees. According to our Employee Insight Report 2014, 71% of employees are more likely to remain with an employer who offers a good benefits package and 69% are influenced by the quality of benefits when choosing a new employer, clearly illustrating the need to offer a carefully considered benefits package with the employee at the centre.

The traditional benefits model, which has been permanent fixture since its inception in the 70s is considered by many to be an outdated approach and more often than not fails to provide affordability, sustainability and relevance.

In response our Health Management practice has transitioned from a one size fits all strategy focusing on volume to one that offers value by acknowledging employee segments and the variability of needs in the population.

Eric Tyree, our Chief Data Scientist, echoes this sentiment in his recent article on treating Employees like Consumers highlighting that ‘different types of consumer want different things and these needs must be met to maintain competitive’.

It is all well and good acknowledging the need to drill down to granular levels of employee needs, but how can employers do this? – Big Data

Big Data is a concept that has been bandied about for quite some time, although is a practice only recently adopted by the Health Management industry. The underlying premise of ‘Big Data’ is to extract actionable insight from large data sets in order to steer strategy.

Eric Tyree notes that socioeconomic data and where people are in their lives have significant implications on their benefit preferences. An individual’s salary, age, number of dependents and relationship status are just some of the variables that influence economic needs which in turn drive our choices.

Data analytics tools are fast becoming an integral part of benefits design. By understanding the correlation between socioeconomics, where people are in their lives, claims data and other health related information we can not only draw a picture a company’s risk profile, but also deliver a benefits package that provides affordability, sustainability and relevance.

Alistair Dornan, Head of Health Management, commented “When the use of Big Data supports decision making in so many aspects of today’s businesses, the arrival of such capability is timely and much needed in Group Health and Risk”

Big Data is a daunting challenge, but a necessary one to combat the trade-offs associated with appeasing and engaging an employer’s workforce at a suitable cost. We have recently introduced Assure, our new Health Management proposition that is underpinned by the use of data analytics to develop a benefits package that is in tune with the needs of your workforce.

For more information, please visit our Health Management page.

About the author

Alistair Dornan Head of Health Management

Alistair Dornan

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