By Leah Shea
The healthcare landscape is constantly shifting, and the tried-and-true strategies of yesteryear aren’t as valuable as they once were. New technologies, techniques, and trends are reshaping how healthcare is provided and how businesses competing in the space formulate strategies.
Consumers are at the heart of the complex healthcare industry—and are the key for businesses wanting to compete, win, and grow. Understanding the needs and challenges of the consumer (i.e. your patients), their experience through the care journey, and how and where they engage your brand are vital data points your company needs for success.
In this blog, we’ll explain what consumer data is and why it has the potential to impact healthcare delivery positively.
What is consumer data in healthcare?
The traditional approach to healthcare is no longer sufficient to meet the expectations and demands of the modern patient. With easy access to information and a mindset that encourages ‘shopping around,’ patients now expect more from their healthcare providers. They expect a healthcare experience that is affordable, convenient, accessible, personalized, and satisfying.
This can be a tall order for any healthcare provider to achieve. This is where consumer data comes in. Consumer-centric market intelligence can help providers better understand the patients and communities they serve, help inform strategic planning, and drive revenue and growth.
Consumer data is comprised of the following categories:
- Encounter and clinical data (such as from your electronic health record or EHR)
- Medical and prescription claims
- Consumer demographics and descriptive data
- Social Determinants of Health (SDoH)
When consumer data is leveraged, it has the potential to help healthcare professionals provide more comprehensive care that engages consumers, improves patient experience and outcomes, and helps patients stay in network. And when used with consumer-centric predictive models, health systems can better identify consumers according to a full range of healthcare needs, offering services when, where, and how consumers need them.
Leveraging different sources for predictive consumer insights
Today, it is well-recognized that data should be at the forefront of decision-making. However, defining what data should be used and for which use cases is particularly important. Typically, consumer data is used to both better understand your existing patient base and the broader needs across your market.
Creating these databases can be costly, inefficient, and time-consuming. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that healthcare organizations need better datasets that are comprehensive, accurate, timely, and relevant.
One important step often overlooked by healthcare organizations is identifying both internal and external sources of consumer data. As the industry embraces consumer-centricity, health systems should consider a broader range of externally sourced data to assess community needs, respond to social risk and other factors influencing health, and better understand the whole person to provide more effective care.
Additionally, patient and consumer data are often compartmentalized for specific purposes rather than put together in a holistic manner. For instance, when considering outreach tactics, population health teams might use one source of data while marketing obtains their data from a different asset. Creating an enterprise-wide source of truth for consumer data is the optimal path to predictive consumer insights.
Scaling your data operations
As organizations advance in a world driven by data, the significance of data management should not be overlooked. From strategy to clinical teams, it’s important that decision-makers have access to the right data at the right time.
However, this is not an easy task as our digital ecosystem becomes increasingly complex.
The first step is investing in the proper technologies for enterprise data management, which often includes moving to a cloud-based data model that is more scalable and efficient. Healthcare organizations also need to find the right analytics vendors and partners that will work to feed the organization’s data ecosystem, not force the organization to work outside its environment.
Ensuring the dataset is high quality is equally important. Healthcare professionals wishing to understand their consumers from a 360-degree perspective should source many different types of data from trusted, reliable places. In doing so, healthcare companies can develop a universe of data about their consumers that is woven together from different angles and can be used across the organization to address a broad range of challenges and strategic initiatives.
For example, many organizations are now designing SDoH initiatives that address the influence of social and economic demands on a population. Undertaking this endeavor requires the ability to mesh clinical data, such as the number of persons affected by an illness, SDoH elements, such as transportation indicators, and key demographic features, such as the number of children in the household. The result is significant—consumer needs are met dynamically through a transforming care delivery network that anticipates need.
When used effectively, consumer data can improve the health and wellbeing of patients and whole communities. Healthcare organizations can leverage consumer data to influence everything from company strategy to understanding how providers interact with patients to address consumer needs and make the experience more desirable.
Definitive Healthcare’s Atlas Dataset weaves together actual patient-level health data with consumer demographic, psychographic, socioeconomic data points, and more. Your teams can use this healthcare commercial intelligence to identify, segment, and forecast your target patients’ needs and develop more informed strategies that help your company grow and retain revenue. Want to see how your teams can get incredible value from our platform? Sign up for a free trial today.