Using Data And Analytics To Improve Operational Efficiency

Kirsten Simonitsch, SVP & CIO, Premera Blue Cross
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Kirsten Simonitsch, SVP & CIO, Premera Blue Cross

Steering transformational initiatives within your business environment that typically required IT

I led the implementation of two corporate initiatives, including bringing Premera’s Disease Management program in-house and our Innovation Campaign. Both initiatives were critical to our success in an evolving business environment.

Disease Management Program:

As part of our integrated approach to managing healthcare, I led a crossfunctional team in launching a Disease Management Program. In doing this we created a new business capability in-house by developing an operational framework to run the program.

The program focuses on improving the health outcomes of our members who have chronic illnesses and diabetes. Through a personal health coach model, we’re engaging these members to guide them towards more cost effective and healthier outcomes.

Innovation Campaign:

In late 2011, I led an Innovation Campaign to engage our consumers in their personal health management. Insights from the workshop were used to further develop products, services and technologies focused on improving member health and reducing costs.

As a result of the campaign, Premera has partnered with a Seattle-based startup, Mindbloom to develop a number of consumer applications and mobile apps. Juice, the first mobile app in the series, helps connect the dots between their daily habits and energy levels, providing tips to make improvements. Premera also recently sponsored Serve It Up!, a free website and mobile app to help members shop smart and eat healthy.

Manner in which data is used to head off problems and complications before they happen

Within the Actionable Anaytics program, we are using data and analytics to improve Premera’s operational efficiency and financial performance. For example, we are learning more about our members’ health by acquiring lab data, such as HbA1C, which measures average blood glucose over the last 8-12 weeks. With this knowledge, we can engage members who have higher HbA1C to support them in taking preventive steps to help reduce their risks in long-term.

The areas in business environment where solutions do not yet exist or not up to the mark, and which if existed, would've made job easier

My wish list includes a suite of flexible, integrated technology solutions that are focused on the end-consumer–whether that’s a member, employer or provider to help create and support a sustainable healthcare system.

Technology trends impacting enterprise business environment

The convergence of social, mobile, cloud and information is changing how we work, live, and interact. While our technology solutions are heavily influenced by healthcare reform and our changing market dynamics, these four influences will also guide our decisions and investments as we engage, attract, retain and manage our stakeholders.

My roles and responsibilities as a CIO

My role has expanded over the last three years beyond IT to respond to Premera’s corporate strategy, enabling enterprisewide business capabilities with the help of technology.

Lessons learned and advice for fellow CIOs

I’ve learned that by taking risks you can sometimes get a much bigger return on your investment. This happens as you benefit from an unknown opportunity that didn’t present itself in the beginning. For example, by using innovation methodologies to develop Premera’s consumer solutions, we have begun to create a cultural change within our IT organization. In doing so, we improved associate engagement to change the way we work as a team. As a result, we unleashed our own creative talent and problem-solving skills that we didn’t know existed earlier.

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