Healthcare is undergoing a transformation. While consumers once received treatment based solely on their symptoms at the point of care, healthcare providers can now incorporate a wealth of historical, social, and environmental information to assess an individual’s condition and provide more personalized—and preventive—care.
This information is expanding all the time, growing to include factors as granular as whether a person lives in a neighborhood that provides access to affordable, healthy food.
One pioneer of this approach is Anthem, Inc., a leading health benefits company that serves more than 110 million people through its affiliated companies, including approximately 43 million members within its family of health plans. Anthem takes a “whole person” approach to healthcare, considering many factors—including social drivers of health—that influence health every day.
At the core of this effort is Anthem’s digital-first approach, which uses data-driven insights to personalize care for every individual. To build a holistic picture of each consumer’s health, Anthem uses personal historical data such as insurance claims, electronic medical records, and hospital visits, as well as social and environmental information that can indicate susceptibility to certain diseases and conditions.
For example, a predictive model may detect that consumers who live alone in a food desert—an area with poor access to healthy food—are more prone to diabetes. With this knowledge, Anthem can help improve individuals’ lives and communities through relevant programs and collaboration efforts.
“In order to provide personalized, proactive, and predictive healthcare services to consumers, and help them better manage chronic conditions they may have, it is important to leverage data to more effectively factor in the many variables that drive health,” said Ashok Chennuru, chief data and analytics officer at Anthem.
This whole-person approach requires Anthem to store and analyze petabytes of data. A few years ago, the company determined that its on-premises data centers could not scale sufficiently to process all this data, and that inefficient queries were delaying its time to insight, so it moved its data operations into the cloud.
Anthem considered several options and selected the Snowflake Data Cloud, in part because Snowflake’s platform works with all the major public clouds.
Operating in the cloud allows Anthem to scale its data operations up and down as needed while paying only for the resources it uses. The company has become more agile, because its analysts and data scientists can self-provision resources quickly for a new project instead of going through lengthy IT requests. Anthem also gets access to the latest advanced data technologies more quickly because they have been tested to meet the security and privacy standards of Snowflake’s platform.
The faster speed to insight has been particularly important during the global pandemic. Snowflake is one of the resources Anthem uses to track Covid-19 vaccinations. Combining external vaccination data with plan-member data helps Anthem analyze vaccination rates, identify and engage high-risk individuals, and connect them with appropriate health resources.
This ability to share data externally is far easier in the cloud than with a traditional server infrastructure and is important for curating better consumer experiences. Eighty-seven percent of healthcare executives share data with external parties to generate insights that could lead to better patient experiences, according to a recent report from Snowflake and the Economist Intelligence Unit.
With Snowflake, Anthem can collaborate and exchange data with its healthcare partners to deliver a complete view of plan members’ health. By leveraging its data sandbox, which has certified de-identified data, Anthem has also staged hackathons that bring together experts from across the healthcare industry to work on models that can help consumers improve their health and well-being.
With the cloud, Anthem’s teams also have access to self-service reports that give them live, actionable insights rather than waiting weeks for ad hoc reports.
Moving to the cloud has helped Anthem fulfill its mission to improve lives and communities as well as simplify the healthcare experience. As the healthcare industry keeps on its journey to full digitization, Anthem will continue to leverage capabilities such as the Data Cloud to turn even more sources of data into valuable, actionable insights.
Learn more about Snowflake for Healthcare Life Sciences.