For healthcare payers focused on improving the experience for all customers regardless of where they may be in the “member journey,” geocoding may be just what the doctor ordered. The member journey in healthcare includes every stage a patient goes through; from enrollment to care, to care management and preventive health. Having the ability to accurately track a member’s healthcare journey is imperative for insurance companies and healthcare payers to not only survive, but thrive in this industry.
That’s why so many payers today are turning to geocoding rather than generalized data like zip codes or counties to improve the patient experience. Understanding members’ specific locations also helps in targeting potential customers, and ensures their provider networks are distributed optimally based on location in relation to their member base. Geocoding is so precise that it can locate points of interest in literally seconds – something that may save lives when it comes to healthcare.
“Every healthcare payer has team of data scientists that work on gaining insights from the vast amount of data they have available to them. Often times they pull in claims data and pharmacy data but miss out on external data that could tell the real story,” says John Anderson of Pitney Bowes Software Healthcare Solutions in a recent interview for Future Healthcare Today.
“Geocoding combined with social determinants of health data can improve existing analytical models for payers. For example, a payer may be looking to determine who is most likely to show up at the emergency room within the next 90 days for an urgent asthma condition. By adding the specific geographic location of the member as a component to the predictive model, payers can communicate more effectively to them and alert them when there is a new urgent care facility close by or a local asthma specialist within the network.”
In addition, John adds, “researchers may be able to gain critical insights into the bigger picture by adding data that includes where a patient lives or works. The data may show that someone lives or works in an industrial area with poor air quality, smog, or high humidity, for example. They can then use this information in combination with health data to gain insights into a person’s overall health and what role the environment’s impact or other factors may play.”
In the coming years, the healthcare industry is expected to see growth in the global location-based services market with hospitals having the capability to offer patients more timely help in cases of accidents or unforeseen cases of diseases. And as we move towards a more digital world where “smart healthcare” protocols are utilized in urban areas, geocoding will surely aide the healthcare sector through this transformation.
Find out more about organizations of all sizes are using geospatial data to drive differentiation here.