How Healthgrades Uses Data Science to Help Hospitals Engage Consumers

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The idea of an off-the-shelf, analytic solution to a complex problem is an attractive dream that many people across a variety of industries are constantly searching for. Data science methods often present themselves as black box, magical tools with a limitless ability to solve the most complex problems. The idea of a "Watson" or "Siri" wading through terabytes of data and pumping out analyses, insights, and prescribed courses of action is exciting. In reality, these fantastical ideas are still visions rather than concrete tools to improve business outcomes.

So, is optimism about data science misplaced? Not at all. While reality is less flashy than an AI reminiscent of science fiction, data science does deliver value to companies across the globe. The key is finding a team that can perform the hardest task in data science: connecting analytic solutions to business needs. Many smart people can build algorithms and run statistical analyses however, a good data scientist knows how to use those tools to solve real-world problems. At Healthgrades, our Data Science team is dedicated to that fundamental concept.

Our team focuses on identifying the problems most important to healthcare executives, figuring out how to dimensionalize and analyze those problems, and finally applying advanced analytic methods to deliver insights and value. We call this algorithmic intelligence: human judgement, enhanced and supported by technology.

How do we apply algorithmic intelligence to a problem? Consider this example. One key question in the healthcare industry is "How can we effectively engage consumers about their healthcare needs?" At Healthgrades we break this down into four key areas and apply data science approaches to effectively address each one.

Opportunity Identification: How can we identify the service lines in your facilities that are both responsive to new initiatives, and highly valuable? We quantify value and responsiveness, and use data from a wide variety of sources to evaluate each service lines potential impact to your total business.

Predictive Analytics: How can we identify the customers who have the most pressing needs within those service lines? Using neural networks, deep learning, and millions of data points, we train models to predict future healthcare utilization.

Behavior Change: How can we speak to those customers with the right message at the right time? Using clustering algorithms and historical data, we create marketing segments based on previous medical encounters, giving you valuable context into a patient's healthcare experiences.

Attribution Modeling: How can we evaluate whether our messaging is working, and improve our next communication? Combining our historical data with years of experience and careful modeling, we help you understand the interplay between each of your chosen communication channels.

These four key areas are the cornerstone of our Consumer Intelligence Platform. The Platform leverages our algorithmic intelligence derived from more than a decade of data science work which enhances and augments the work of both internal and client based analytic teams. Data science is at the core of our platform. Through the platform, we combine healthcare marketing experience with best-in-class data science to deliver answers to the questions which impact healthcare executives most.

Data science is not a silver bullet. Currently no machine can replace human judgement for connecting real-world problems to complex analytic solutions. At Healthgrades our algorithmic intelligence model shows how hospital systems can leverage data science to solve real problems in healthcare marketing.

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