The DNA of Healthcare

6 Criteria When Selecting a Strategic Health IT Data Partner

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Vice President, Enabling Partnerships

Here’s how the right health IT data partner can help you achieve your business goals and better serve your customers.

Decisions and data. Your day and life are filled with them. From simple decisions like whether you should have another cup of coffee (which is almost always a ‘yes’) to the more complex, such as should I purchase a home, to all those options in between. When it comes to selecting a health IT data partner, this marks one of those not-so-simple decisions. Perhaps you’ve determined that it’s time to evaluate health IT data partner options, especially as you start planning for 2022 and beyond.

With the volume of big data in healthcare projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 36% through 2025, faster than in manufacturing, financial services, or media sectors, selecting the best healthcare data for your needs and those of your customers should not be taken lightly.

Here are six considerations as you embark on your journey to evaluate a strategic healthcare partner.

1. Quality, Comprehensive, and Complementary Data Assets

It’s probably safe to say we all enjoy having the luxury of shopping at one store where we can buy groceries, household products, toiletries, décor and maybe even some clothes – a one-stop shop.

When it comes to your sources of healthcare data, sure you can lean on various data vendors that each provide you with a piece of the puzzle to augment your current assets. However, we all know that oftentimes, the more players involved, the more time it takes to manage relationships, execute tedious paperwork, uncover if and how assets can be linked, etc. It has the potential to create a lot more work with perhaps little reward.

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When evaluating health IT data partners, think about what data assets you need and understand what the organization you’re evaluating can provide – think both short- and more importantly long-term needs. Perhaps at this juncture you need social determinants of health (SDoH) data, but down the road you see the need for identity access and risk management bubbling to the top of the list, or perhaps even patient-level claims data. Consider how you can grow your business and enhance your data for your needs and those of your end customer. Ask questions to ensure that the data is comprehensive, recent, presented in context of your use cases, and that various proof points can be validated. Plus, ask and learn about access to data linking technologies through interoperability.

2. Ability to Build a Custom Healthcare Dataset and Solution

With the abundance of available data, narrow your focus on not just what data is needed but also the why behind it. As you are vetting healthcare tech organizations, ensure you have a strong understanding of the exact data you need and ask the right questions to uncover if they will be able to deliver it. There is no “one size fits all” solution for any organization. Look for a data provider who’s dedicated to understanding the nuances of your needs and those of your clients.

The ability to have a custom solution aligns to the implementation process of such healthcare data. Having data insights delivered via application programming interfaces (APIs) that are flexible and configurable allows for easy data ingestion, now and in the future when your organization’s needs evolve. To operationalize data insights to meet business objectives, the information should be easily integrated into your organization’s workflow.

In the past, vendors would send large data files to their customers, who, in turn, would try to determine where the value was and how to extract and apply it. Thankfully, APIs for data transmission have transformed the way businesses interact, with cost savings and unmatched data processing efficiency as added benefits. APIs are snippets of code that allow software applications to interact in a common language, delivering access to and integration with the third-party data. Having data insights delivered via APIs that are flexible and configurable allows for easy data ingestion now and in the future when the organization’s needs evolve.

Consider how these fit into your organization’s existing framework and articulate to the vendor how you plan to use data insights to make decisions within the workflow. It’s also an added benefit when you’ll receive not only data but healthcare consulting services too.

3. Access to Clinically-validated Social Determinants of Health Risk Scores

health it data partner

Incorporating clinically-validated information on social determinants of health derived from vast public sources into predictive models is proving to be a much better indicator of future health outcomes than traditional models that use legacy data alone. These attributes add tremendous value when adequate claims and medical records are present—but become even more critical where minimal medical and/or claims data is available.

Through your healthcare data partner, ensure that you will have access to hundreds of socioeconomic attributes that correlate to health outcomes in your clinical and analytic models to assess and manage risk. Attributes selected should have been validated by using statistical methods and visualization techniques targeting continuous health care targets such as total costs, hospitalizations, emergency visits, Rx costs, medication adherence, stress index (severity and percentile), and motivation. Data on social determinants of health takes predictive modeling to a new level, uncovering hidden costs and risks that cannot be identified through traditional data sources.

4. Healthcare Expertise and a Strong Track Record of Success 

Be sure to gain a clear picture of the Health Care IT (HCIT) vendor’s market expertise as it relates to healthcare. Deriving value-add insights from data require not only continuous diligence, but also an in-depth understanding of industry-specific data sources and practices. Vendors should offer deep expertise in the nuances of healthcare data and demonstrate a track record of performance in healthcare in general as well as with the type of organization in question. Only then will the vendor have the context necessary to generate actionable results to meet specific business goals. A strategic partner’s level of industry expertise typically correlates with the organization’s stability and product maturity. Reading company press releases, looking for media coverage, and even social media can help provide a more holistic picture of a potential HCIT partner.

5. Top-notch Support and Data Security

health it data partner

Data solution implementation is only truly successful if it is backed by ongoing support. A true data partner is always available to support and, if necessary, troubleshoot issues as well as reconfigure the solution as the customer’s needs evolve in the dynamic market.

Additionally, a partner should demonstrate a high level of commitment to data security. As a highly regulated industry, healthcare compliance is critical to success, covering an array of rules, regulations, and processes, particularly as they relate to protected health information. In recent years and amid a flurry of cybersecurity breaches, healthcare organizations are under increasing pressure to protect their data, secure access, guard against threats, and mitigate risks under specific requirements and industry standards.

The ability to handle a wealth of data while ensuring continuous compliance is an imperative for both healthcare organizations and their data partners.

6. An Ever-evolving Innovation Mindset

In today’s world largely shaped by technological innovation, it’s vital that a data partner is future-focused, innovation-driven, and continuously pursuing product or service improvement that will positively impact both you and your client base.

At LexisNexis Risk Solutions, many of our solutions are driven by an innovative linking and clustering method that leverages our own unique identifier, LexID®, to resolve, match and manage large volumes of changing information. Solutions should utilize a scalable automated technology to link key data points together and then further enhance that data in a dynamic way to give organizations clear visibility of their targets even as identities change over time. And solution offerings should grow and evolve over time.

Choosing Your Health IT Data Partner: Next Steps

After you gain internal alignment around timing, budgets, specific company, and your end users’ needs, it’s probably a good time to start your health IT data partner research journey. Start by reaching out with details of your needs and challenges and ideal use cases to gain a better understanding into how companies can help you solve for your challenge(s) and meet your clinical, financial, and operational goals.

Perhaps the simplest decision that’s layered in this more complicated one, is submitting that initial request to learn more. Do your due diligence and talk to multiple HCIT vendors, so when it’s time to make a decision, you are confident that you have opted for not simply a vendor but rather a true partner, one that aligns with your long-term goals for meeting the strategic objectives of your business and those of your customers, both current and future. So, what are you waiting for? Reach out to LexisNexis Risk Solutions health IT strategic partnerships today and discover how your organization and those that you serve can experience the benefits of diverse and robust data assets needed to augment your current efforts and maximize value.

The DNA of Healthcare

At LexisNexis Risk Solutions, our goal is to provide the healthcare industry with insights and innovations to improve outcomes, grow market share, reduce fraud and increase compliance.

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