Unlocking the Value of Predictive Consumer Data in Healthcare

In Brief

4-Minute Read

By Nicole Bengtson, Gregg Loughman

For years, internal and external forces, including a global pandemic, forced healthcare organizations into semipermanent reactive modes that have hindered their ability to implement their more ambitious, long-term strategies.


  • Predictive consumer data has the power to change how healthcare is delivered, but siloes in data have been holding back progress.

  • Today’s post-pandemic world demands more real-time use of data, and healthcare is poised to take advantage of this trend for long-term planning and everyday operations and care delivery.

  • The potential of consumer data is rooted in the ability to provide more whole-person care that engages consumers, delivers better clinical outcomes, and prevents patients from leaving the hospital’s care network.

Today, healthcare is snapping back with innovations in how they work, deliver care, and interact with consumers. As pandemic response ebbs, leaders are positioned to springboard out of planning and into real-world applications for using data across the healthcare enterprise.

What is consumer data?

There’s a lot of chatter in business today about using data to drive decisions. As with any conversation, agreeing on terminology from the start helps avoid miscommunication. Typically, consumer data includes the following:

  • Claims/clinical data or patient encounters with claims
  • Public data health indicators (U.S. census, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Agriculture, etc.)
  • Market data
  • Geospatial data on households

Predictive consumer data has the potential to guide everything from business strategy to how providers engage with consumers to improve the overall health and well-being of patients — and ultimately communities.

The Potential of Predictive Consumer Data

Shifting From Long-Term to More Real-Time Use of Data

Using data to understand the healthcare market has typically been an exercise applied annually or in three-to-five-year planning cycles. The pandemic showed us that if we aren’t in real-time contact with their market, we are falling behind.

Data often gets siloed and used for either strategic planning or individual care pathway creation. Population health departments, for example, will use one set of data while business development gets their data from another asset. Few organizations are fully leveraging the same data assets and connecting data sources across the enterprise.

Many healthcare organizations are readily using data to understand and stratify the clinical risk of individuals or populations based on their health status. However, most are still working to figure out how to measure and react to social risk to deliver more effective, whole-person care.

Understanding the risk of a person or population is different than understanding how a delivery network changes to absorb that risk. For example, organizations are working now to design social determinants of health (SDOH) initiatives that address the impact of nonmedical needs on a population in tandem with providing healthcare. The next level of that work, enabled by data, is the ability to know the exact number of people affected by a disease and then layer in the impact of SDOH factors to actively change the care delivery network to match consumer needs.

The call to action is for organizations to use data to understand their overall market, their competition or potential for network leakage, and their patients and consumers — clinically, socially, and in terms of their consumer behaviors. In the desired future state, that information comes together in a way that affects not just a three-to-five-year strategic plan, but the real-world, daily clinical delivery.

Consumer data in various forms will continue to drive the future of healthcare. Leading organizations are moving with urgency to incorporate data insights at both the strategic and daily executional levels to provide more equitable, whole-person care that brings the greatest value to consumers.

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