We’re HIPAA Compliant! What’s Next?

By Crystal Son


Earlier this month, we shared that Civis Platform is now HIPAA compliant. As the healthcare lead here at Civis, I am particularly excited about this. It means we’ll be able to help healthcare providers leverage science and thoughtful program design to identify and engage with the patients they treat. This will build upon our healthcare work over the past few years, where we helped connect:

  • Insurance enrollment programs with uninsured populations
  • Women at risk of breast cancer with free mammogram services
  • A growing chronic disease medical care provider with new sources of revenue
  • A state’s largest health insurer with members likely to have poor clinical and financial outcomes
An example of a model Civis created to help the City of Chicago identify women at risk of breast cancer. The city used this information to direct distribution of vouchers for free mammogram services.

When I think about where Civis is well-suited to solve healthcare-specific challenges, there are a few value-adds that stand out:

  1. Greater personalization. Rather than blanket approaches that segment customers by demographics or clinical risk factors, we have the ability to derive insights that account for the fact that people are unique. Let’s take the example of helping diabetics better manage their diet. One approach is to make a generic recommendation to every patient with diabetes on how they can improve their diet and leave it up to them to figure out how to make that happen. Alternatively, a scientific model could predict patients who would respond positively to a discounted offer for a low-glycemic meal-kit delivery service, or a monthly gym membership.
  2. Going beyond description and driving actions. As curious data nerds, we love an interesting, thought-provoking research question as much as anyone else. But interesting questions and fun facts alone can’t drive a recommended course of action that will maximize impact. Similarly, going on an open-ended data-mining mission without a clear vision for application of the results introduces unnecessary data privacy risks. As a silly example, it might be incredibly interesting to learn that people at high readmission risk tend to drive SUVs. But just knowing this doesn’t lead to a clear recommended action. On the other hand, if the data tells you that patients who don’t receive a follow-up call from a caseworker within 24 hours of discharge are at higher risk of readmission, the action is clear: Ensure that all discharged patients receive that service.
  3. Solutions that account for a patient’s life outside the medical record. Clinical services only account for 20% of a person’s health. The rest is comprised of health behaviors (30%), social and economic factors (40%), and physical environment (10%). This means if providers truly want to drive better health outcomes for their patients, incorporating non-clinical data into models is a need-to-have, not a nice-to-have. We serve as a data partner to many of our clients and augment their data sets with our own. In doing so, we can help provide a deeper understanding of financial stability, neighborhoods and communities, food access, and lifestyle behaviors that contribute to overall health risk.
  4. Understand how patient satisfaction affects patient behavior. There is a lot of buzz about what patients are looking for in a provider nowadays and how it’s changing — for example, people want greater convenience, more transparency around prices, and they expect a better digital experience through online portals and even mobile apps. But not all of this is consistent across different parts of the population, and satisfied patients aren’t always healthy patients. Because Civis blends social science with data science, we can help organizations drill down into where people’s preferences actually matter for driving the behavioral changes that result in better health outcomes.

Whether you’re at the beginning of your analytics journey and just starting to think about these things, or your organization is deeply experienced in this area, we’d love to connect with you and talk further about how Civis could meet your particular needs. Feel free to drop me a line at cson@civisanalytics.com anytime.