Three Keys to Using Data to Improve Patient Care and Reduce Costs

By Erin Benson,
Director of Market Planning, LexisNexis Health Care

Healthcare is on the brink of a significant transformation driven by the ongoing shift to value-based care and the focus on improving population health. Research has shown that socioeconomic data and advanced analytics can be used to proactively identify health risks.

With that information in hand, could providers make better decisions, increase engagement with patients and ultimately reduce the costs of care?

1. Leverage socioeconomic data in clinical workflows

According to the World Health Organization, socioeconomic data consists of clinically-validated information on social determinants of health, which are the conditions in which people are born, live, work and age.

Factors such as proximity to relatives, income level, housing, environment, education, access to transportation, and court records can be extracted from public records data. Then, through the use of advanced analytics, those factors can provide important insights that have a proven connection to health outcomes. Providers can begin using these insights from social determinants of health during the pre-admission process and continue using them beyond discharge planning to holistically treat a patient during their entire healthcare journey.

2. Predict future health risks

Medical and pharmacy claims data has traditionally been the main source of information for healthcare organizations, but that data doesn’t give a complete picture of the patient.

Studies by County Health Rankings show that medical determinants are only accountable for 20 percent of healthcare outcomes, whereas social determinants of health account for as much as 50 percent

When socioeconomic data is combined with patient medical records data, providers have a more holistic view of their patients, enabling them to be more proactive and make better-informed care decisions.

3. Put data to use

Data experts say we’ve only scratched the surface of what social determinants of health can tell us. The insights gleaned can be used to:

  • Focus on prevention by identifying risk factors in patients and intervene
  • Provide a more holistic picture of patients to drive treatment decisions
  • Increase engagement by interacting with patients on an ongoing basis
  • Support patients in choosing a healthy lifestyle and managing their health
  • Decrease treatment costs by proactively handling health issues before they become serious
  • Reduce hospital readmissions by anticipating the challenges a patient may face in recovery
  • Help healthcare organizations meet quality standards

Research has shown that socioeconomic data and advanced analytics can be used to proactively identify health risks


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