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How Data Science is simplifying Healthcare industry?

  • Kavya Nambiar
  • Aug 03, 2021
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The use of data to adapt to changing consumer behavior and requirements has become ever more necessary in this rapidly changing world. The past year saw the biggest crisis the healthcare industry has faced in recent times, and it has brought attention to ways to improve and enhance our healthcare landscape. 


This interview with Dr. Vibhuti Agarwal, Director- Product Management at Innovaccer, provides insights into the workings of Innovaccer, a pioneer in integrating data analytics into healthcare.



What is Innovaccer?


“Innovaccer was established and has been moving forward ever since, with the intent to build the future of healthcare.”


Innovaccer is a leading Indian-based provider of data-driven solutions for healthcare. They work with connecting and curating the world’s healthcare information to make it accessible and valuable and are committed to helping and improving the healthcare industry. Agarwal describes Innovaccer as ”the bridge, the missing link that leads to connected healthcare working collaboratively to keep people healthy and well."


Innovaccer recently captured the status of being the first Indian health-tech unicorn, with a valuation of 1.3 Billion US Dollars.


Innovaccer’s efforts are well recognized, with them being named as the best in KLAS vendor for Population Health Management by KLAS in 2021. This speaks about their customer-centricity, according to Agarwal. 


“One of the core values at Innovaccer is making our customers superheroes, which we follow religiously. Our ability to customize and scale with our customers' news is what sets us apart from our competitors.”


Speaking in technical terms, Agarwal describes differentiation characteristics that make Innovaccer stand out from the rest of the service providers-


  • Speed to value: Innovaccer is willing, enthusiastic, and able to ingest and deploy actionable intelligence in less than half the time as most of our competitors. 


  • Inherent value: Innovaccer not only completes data ingestion faster, but we also take a customer-friendly approach and are willing to be flexible with how the solution is accustomed for the customers.


  • Customization: while most of our features and functionality are pre-built, we collaborate closely with each client during the negotiation and implementation phases of each project to customize reports, workflows, etc. to meet each client's needs best, and are willing and able to adapt our roadmap and client-specific efforts further to adjust our integrated data model platform and integrated applications.


  • Partnership Approach: Innovaccer believes firmly in a partnership approach in our relationships with our customers. As a result, we're very careful to partner with customers who share our vision. Our attention to and understanding of our customers' needs is of critical importance to our team. This is a crucial factor in our successful implementations to date — customer success is our highest priority.


Products from Innovaccer are mostly SaaS, with the exception of their most recent launch, the Innovaccer Health Cloud.


( Recommended blog - What is SAAS? Services, Advantages & Challenges )



Innovaccer Health Cloud


Innovaccer Health Cloud is a PaaS solution to “power the future of health.” It helps healthcare providers build an ecosystem with the industry’s most flexible and scalable multi-tenant data platform, Agarwal says.


“The Health Cloud brings together the Data Activation Platform, a wide variety of pre-built AI models on its content store, flexible and configurable applications, and a plethora of innovative and flexible developer tools. The intention behind providing these functionalities through a PaaS solution is to accelerate innovation and create products in a healthcare contextualized environment by empowering developers with the right tools.”


The Data Activation Platform “ingests, aggregates, and normalizes healthcare data across systems and delivers unified patient records and actionable insights that improve clinical, financial, and operational outcomes.” 


This complies with a flexible and configurable Suite of Intelligent Applications, which are “highly customizable persona-based applications with close support from Innovaccer’s customer engineering team.” Finally, the Innovation Toolkit comprises innovative and flexible developer tools that make it easy to develop healthcare-specific applications and solutions. 


Innovaccer’s enterprise data management on the health cloud aims to bring the massive amount of data that healthcare industries amass using a cloud-agnostic platform that unlocks the power of data analytics and provides a platform on which new digital services and solutions can be built with native interoperability.


“Our healthcare cloud delivers robust solutions to each care stakeholder while keeping them united on a single data fabric. Our technology helps care organizations harness data to optimize clinical quality while reducing costs, making it a worthy long-term investment with the added benefit of healthcare contextualization, making it a unique and value-adding solution.”



Data Science in Healthcare


“Healthcare is witnessing a massive transformation,” Agarwal explains. “Over the past ten years, the industry has spent billions of dollars digitizing healthcare processes with great success. But they were just the first step in the journey. At present, we have troves of healthcare information locked in electronic silos.”


How does this data benefit the industry? Agarwal elaborates that data has the power to bring insights to the surface that can transform care outcomes both in terms of patients and care providers, and that data can enhance and simplify the healthcare sector, providing proper care, and making healthcare accessible to one and all.


“When it comes to the care providers, if they are empowered with the legible information in the moment of care, they would be able to provide more informed decisions and proactively decide and help them make a better prognosis.”


( Recommended blog - What is Healthcare Data Analytics? )


Agarwal also explains that this will also help “enable a wellness-based system rather than a treatment-based system.” This is about promoting a culture “from getting customized plans for each patient to acquiring population trends based on the various socio-economic factors and leading to a mass change,” that is, from personalization at the individual level to thinking about the wellness of communities as a whole.


According to Agarwal, it would also help overcome the financial divide - “People divided by their economic side can better understand what strategies are to be applied to unify the healthcare system for all, regardless of the dividing line between the rich and the impoverished.”


The benefits go all the way up to aiding the policymakers and government in providing schemes that align with an accessible healthcare sector, available for all with better treatment plans.


“The crux lies in the fact that data can act as an enabler, an assistant, towards the care providers and policymakers. It can aid them in treatment by providing them the specific details about the patient, get rid of the logistical burden, and reduce the chances of information mismatch that could cause any hindrance in patient care."


Innovaccer helps utilize this massive amount of data and extract the benefits mentioned. Innovaccer’s Data Activation Platform has been improved and perfected through the years, and this forum enables healthcare organizations to unify their disparate data sources and conduct analytics and derive insights. These insights can then be embedded into their team’s daily workflows through either Innovaccer applications, namely InGraph, InCare, and InNote, or other third-party applications.


“DAP leverages advanced big data technologies to process large data volumes at scale in both real-time and batch mode. It unifies disparate silos of healthcare data using its built-in connectors and visually enabled ETL (Extract-Transform-Load) processes.”


This results in unification and standardization of data which provides a complete 360-degree view of members to physicians, thus empowering them to make better decisions. Agarwal adds that the intelligent and actionable workflows built on top of this unified data ensure that relevant and accurate insights are provided to physicians at the right moment in the care. Clinical decision support engines powering these workflows leverage the best clinical practices to personalize the care workflows for each individual.


As Innovaccer provides a platform approach, Innovaccer products are designed to facilitate data and analytics integration to improve the quality of care and digitize how care is delivered and received. “The data that the healthcare industry creates is enormous,” Agarwal says, “and it is that sea of data that the digital future of healthcare rides on.”


Currently, Innovaccer is building cloud software and solutions that help doctors. Eventually, doctors and insurers will be able to collaborate using the platform. With their solutions, Innovaccer has thus played a role in digitizing healthcare as a whole. 


“The true goal of healthcare digitization would be to bring in life sciences companies and pharma companies to do clinical trials on top of the same forum and create a connected ecosystem for healthcare."



Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis


Any company associated with the healthcare industry, including Innovaccer, were acutely aware of the pandemic and its effects.


“When the health industry, the private sector, and government agencies worked tirelessly to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Innovaccer fully understood that this was not a mere battle but a World War…

...Providers are overloaded as they rush to test and treat the growing number of patients for COVID-19 while also making room for those critical cases that require hospitalization. The crisis is expected to cripple many hospitals, raising concern about the overwhelming demand the pandemic is placing on resources as urgent, emergency, and nursing care.”


Innovaccer was aware that health organizations, hospitals, and others on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response need the mechanism to respond promptly to inquiries, provide the public with up-to-date outbreak information, track exposures, and the spread of cases, quickly triage new cases and provide individualized advice on next steps. So the company responded with tools and solutions catered to help with some of these hurdles. 


“From the very beginning, our goals have not only been a connected health industry working collaboratively to keep people healthy and well, but also a system that makes care delivery smoother for the stakeholders. Organizations had been looking for a technology solution that enables them to identify high-risk and vulnerable populations, connect with them virtually, and minimize the spread of infection.”


Within weeks of the initial outbreak, Innovaccer launched its COVID-19 Management System to assist providers in their response to the pandemic and solve the complications and pressures that they had been facing. “This system is designed for the three Ps of healthcare: Payers, Providers, and Patients,” Agarwal explains. “It allows care delivery teams to manage the flow of patients and screen them for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors, which leads to the optimization of costs, workflows, and healthcare resources. Additionally, the solution assists in connecting patients and providers virtually to minimize the risk of contracting and spreading the novel coronavirus.”


Leveraging this, providers can manage burgeoning numbers by triaging patients through a virtual care portal. 


“Teams can utilize CDC-based assessments to identify high-risk individuals by analyzing simple details such as age, travel history, immune status, and the presence of chronic medical conditions,” Agarwal says. 


“The solution assisted providers in prioritizing patients who should come to the clinic or who need emergency medical care while employing scarce resources judiciously.”


Agarwal also describes an inbuilt telemedicine feature on the Innovaccer Health Cloud. With this, providers can use functionalities such as video calls and push notifications to reduce the hassle for providers, increase efficiency, and significantly improve response times. Finally, Agarwal adds that Innovaccer recently partnered with leading healthcare organizations across the nation to assist them in managing their COVID-19 operations with the COVID Command Center.



Success Stories From Innovaccer


“Innovaccer caters to all major stakeholders in the healthcare industry: providers, payers, life sciences companies, startups and developers, and patients. Our solutions, clientele, and partnerships are spread far and wide across all these spectrums.”


Innovaccer boasts of a clientele that includes several leading healthcare organizations and also has strategic partnerships with several players in the field of healthcare and technology. They equip providers to build the future of patient-centric care by integrating and unifying patient data, generating actionable insights, and enabling collaboration in care delivery to increase patient engagement, gain efficiencies, and achieve better health outcomes.


( Related blog - Big Data in healthcare )


Agarwal illustrates their effectiveness in numbers, they have managed a Total Medical Expense reduction of more than 600 million US dollars. “Our customers see a 2-3x increase in coding gaps closure, providing a greater patient face-time, an escalation in chart retrieval, and additional data for supplemental data reporting,” she says.


A look at some stories of valuable collaborations by Innovaccer and successful client stories show their impeccable service- 


  • Elevate Health (one of the nine accountable communities of health in Washington, aimed at improving whole-person health and health equity): Elevate Health has leveraged the Innovaccer Health Cloud to create interoperable applications that allow them to leverage unified patient records to track the patient journey and analyze patient needs. 


Elevate is also using the Innovaccer Health Cloud to connect patients with community resources in real-time and help its partners successfully address critical medical and social service needs for their patients.


  • Banner Health (Largest non-profit hospital systems with a multi-state presence in the Western US, comprised of 30 acute care hospitals and other health entities): Banner Health is using the Innovaccer Health Cloud to unify patient data across multiple systems, simplify workflows across teams, and support its population health management strategy for more than one million lives.


With the Innovaccer platform, Banner Health is not only transforming patient care but also driving significant savings in its IT operating expenses. Indeed, Banner has achieved $4M in savings from rationalizing various population health solutions with Innovaccer’s comprehensive suite and a 70% reduction in IT infrastructure cost by moving to a SaaS-based model.


  • Mercy ACO (one of the largest accountable care organizations in the Midwest with over 18+ value-based contracts with 5+ payer contracts): Mercy is one of the original partners of Innovaccer, associated with us since we moved to the healthcare niche. They started with the Innovaccer Data Activation Platform, which pulled data and information out from the ACO’s various sources and aggregated it in 90 days.


The process would have taken nine months anywhere else. They soon transitioned entirely to Innovaccer and its Health Cloud. As a result, their PMPM expenditure dropped by a margin of $101.66 per member. Their average risk score decreased by 1.5%, signifying considerable improvements in care quality, and their ROI stood at 244% compared to 181% in the preceding year. Mercy’s $70M+ overall healthcare expenditures reduced since 2012, with the use of Innovaccer’s InReport.


There has also been a 31% increase in annual wellness exams, a 7% reduction in 30-day readmissions, and a 50% reduction in reporting time. They also successfully supported a CMS audit with over 95% compliance. 


  • Physicians Of Southwest Washington (leading healthcare resource in the south Puget Sound region for physicians and practices): PSW has leveraged the Innovaccer Health Cloud to integrate all aspects of care delivery, including the care management and emergency department (ED) optimization process, using a combination of Innovaccer’s application suite and third-party applications developed using the Innovaccer Health Cloud innovation toolkit.


PSW has leveraged Innovaccer’s intelligent APIs to successfully obtain insights into network performance, driving a reduction of approximately 8% in ED utilization year-over-year.


Agarwal adds that Innovaccer has been successfully serving around 1000 customer sites and providing solutions for a better healthcare system accessible to all with improved quality care, enhancing affordability, simplifying care management, and providing prompt patient outreach.



Healthcare in India


“Slowly, our country is realizing the importance of healthcare technology, with the government, policymakers, and private players taking many initiatives to optimize care outcomes with the effective use of technology. We envision a strong foundation of data to optimize care and cost outcomes at both the population and patient-level in the country."


The focus on technology and data-driven healthcare is slowly being established in the country. Agarwal cites the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), as one such initiative by the Government of India. NDHM aims to develop the backbone necessary to support the integrated digital health infrastructure of the country.


“We are keenly observing this development because NDHM is about creating a unified view of patients at its heart,” Agarwal says. “Several Innovaccer products and solutions have been in this direction.” Innovaccer has helped organizations integrate medical records for more than 24 million people and generate more than $600 million in savings. She says that this is something that they would want to emulate in India as well. 


“Innovaccer is an India-based organization, and we would like to contribute to making our healthcare system in India more efficient. We were already taking steps towards this goal by engaging with the local governments of Goa and Puducherry when the pandemic hit.”


Since the Innovaccer products and services need preexistent data for successful output, it is implied that for the successful development of solutions targeting the country, there is a need for advanced infrastructure to already be established. Agarwal is hopeful that more and more initiatives focused on digitizing healthcare will see the light of the day soon.


Innovaccer is also looking to extend its team in India and expand its offices to multiple locations across India.


( Recommended blog - Top 9 Healthcare Technologies )



Innovaccer- Aiming to Better the World


“As an organization, we are proud of the tremendous progress we have helped our customers achieve. With the health cloud and our new solutions, we plan on connecting healthcare for it to work collaboratively to keep people healthy and well.”


As of now, most of Innovaccer’s solutions are focused on catering to the US market, but they do have plans for a global expansion in the near future.


“Given that we have matured our platform/product offerings significantly in the US, we would really want to explore other markets that are ready for the healthcare data platforms,” Agarwal says. "Any country where the healthcare data is available in the digital format and has the right regulatory push to improve quality of care while optimizing for cost would be a good market for us.”


After the collaboration with the government of Goa and Puducherry in India, Agarwal expects that there will be more work here in the country too. 


“Ultimately, we want to create the most exhaustive healthcare cloud that could aid the betterment of the world and all of its people as a whole.”

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