2014 Data+ Editors' Choice Awards

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

A custom data analytics and reporting platform extracts valuable insights from healthcare data.

Executives at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee realized in 2011 that they needed a better way to help staff, external partners and clients glean insights from the organization's data.

So the health insurance provider built a data analytics and reporting platform that displays actionable clinical and administrative information to business stakeholders, provider groups and employers. Sherri Zink, the company's vice president of medical informatics, says team members started building what it calls the Custom 360 platform by creating a "data warehousing structure that would be our single source of truth for disparate data sets, whether that data was internal or not."

Later the team created algorithms and built reporting dashboards to support business users who drill into the data for insights that help them provide more effective healthcare at lower costs. Challenges included integrating the data sets, adopting the agile scrum methodology so the team could have multiple work streams going at once, and figuring out data interdependencies as the project progressed. Program manager Denise Matthews says the team tackled challenges by getting staff certified in agile scrum, strengthening the systems that support the data project and getting feedback from users as pieces of the overall project were rolled out.

Carla Raynor, vice president of strategic marketing for BCBS of Tennessee, says she uses the information from the system to tailor marketing messages and thereby engage her target audience more effectively.

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