Q&A: How health analytics can improve care and cost management in Germany

SpectrumK Managing Director Yves Rawiel talks about health analytics at the 1st Forum for Health Outcomes Research in Berlin

Olaf LodbrokOlaf Lodbrok is Managing Director of Elsevier Health Analytics EMEA LA (Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America). Previously he was Managing Director of Elsevier GmbH in Germany. He has more than 20 years' experience in the German healthcare market, including 14 years in various management positions. Lodbrok holds a master's degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Aachen University (RWTH) and an MBA from Duke University. He lives and works in Munich and Berlin.

At the 1st Forum for Health Outcomes Research in Berlin, he interviewed Yves Rawiel, Managing Director of spectrumK, about the opportunities of health analytics for the improvement of care and cost management in Germany.

Health outcomes research gives insights into how patients are being treated, which treatments or medications are successful, and in which setting. Predictive analytics looks up to 12 months into the future to identify patients at risk, and offers the opportunity to mitigate disease escalation or adverse events for these patients.

Traditional clinical trials have an advantage in the clarity of cause-effect relationships. However, they are very expensive to run and enrolled patients are highly selected. This does not reflect today's reality in healthcare, which is marked by rising life expectancy, more comorbidities and an increasing medical complexity. To assess this complex scenario, a new approach and an innovative methodology are required.

Here, the availability of large amounts of (anonymized) routine medical and claims data paired with high performance computers and modern data mining methods offer valuable additional insights into that complex reality. Elsevier's Health Analytics team in Berlin provides these insights. The team specializes in predictive analytics and data mining of German health data, identifies prospective high risk patients and provides physicians with support in implementing evidence-based best practices, guidelines and supply programs.[divider]

Q&A with Yves Rawiel, Managing Director of spectrumK

Mr. Rawiel, why focus on health analytics?

Yves Rawiel Yves Rawiel is Managing Director of spectrumK GmbH, which represents about 80 sickness funds that insure about 20 percent of Germany's population. In 2008, he joined the company as Director of Marketing and Sales.

Rawiel was born in 1971 in Potsdam, Germany, and started his career with business administration training at the major German health insurance provider AOK. Since 2004, he has concentrated on structural and health-related policy topics.

We believe it will revolutionize healthcare. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, we will be able to identify and better treat those patients who are at high risk early enough to moderate the progression of their condition. We can spend our limited resources more wisely. And for the same amount of investment we can improve the lives of three to five times as many patients.

Which healthcare stakeholders can benefit from health analytics?

Patients, sickness funds (German payors) and physicians will all benefit — but above all, patients will receive better treatment.

Health analytics is still in its infancy. Where will we stand in five years' time?

In five years, we will have implemented a large number of prediction models and treatment guidelines in physicians' patient management systems. Automated algorithms will alert physicians to patients with a higher than normal risk and suggest treatment options from the relevant guideline. Physicians (will be able to) recommend and directly enroll patients in their sickness fund's special program without a lengthy application and approval process.

Against the background of this scenario, what needs to be done to fully realize the potential of health analytics?

We are actively looking for partnerships with patient management system vendors to implement these automated computer algorithms at the point of care. And there is still a significant barrier between the data held in primary and secondary care management systems.

What does your partnership with Elsevier enable you to do?

For us, it is all about delivering better treatment to our patients, ideally at lower costs. Our partnership with Elsevier is at the cutting edge of care management, and we expect a significant competitive advantage for our sickness funds.

1st Forum for Health Outcomes Research

As part of the 1st Forum for Health Outcomes Research June 3, leaders from Germany's statutory health insurance system, leading health outcomes researchers, and policy makers gathered in Berlin to explore the opportunities of big data analysis for optimizing healthcare. The event was hosted by Elsevier Health Analytics and its partner spectrumK, the leading German health service provider for health insurance funds. Elsevier and spectrumK collaborate on a joint venture to data-mine anonymized healthcare data, conduct health outcomes research and develop prediction models.

In her keynote address, Germany's Federal Minister for Education and Research, Professor Johanna Wanka, spoke about the importance of health analytics for the German government. She emphasized the fundamental significance of data access and usage for health outcomes research, to more rapidly transform basic research into clinical practice.

Professor Jean-François Chenot (Greifswald University), Professor Martin Haerter (Medical University of Hamburg) and Dr. Sunder-Plassmann (spectrumK) each presented examples of research they conducted with Elsevier's Health Analytics team, which analyzed large, anonymized routine datasets to answer specific medical questions. The insights from these collaborations will benefit patients suffering from back pain, depression and chronic heart failure.

Dr. Sunder-Plaßmann, Head of Care Management, said patients enrolled in SpectrumK's integrated care program for chronic heart failure, CorBene, are almost twice as likely to receive guideline compliant medication at a €200 per patient lower cost in comparison with usual care.

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