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Blue Cross helping LDH analyze Covid-19 data

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Posted at 9:56 AM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 10:56:27-04

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana staff members are sharing their data and analytics expertise, as well as technology the company developed to drive targeted care interventions, with state officials to inform their COVID-19 response.

Since early March, Blue Cross data and analytics team members have worked closely with the Louisiana Department of Health to aggregate, analyze and model diverse data for Blue Cross members and members of state Medicaid plans, representing two out of three Louisianians. This lets them make projections about rates of hospitalization and death, healthcare facilities’ capacity and proper allocation of crucial medical resources. This information is shared with state officials to assist in planning COVID-19 mitigation measures.

“We believe it takes public/private partnerships such as this to successfully tackle this unprecedented public health emergency. Using cutting-edge technology for timely and precise decision-making and action, our work with the Louisiana Department of Health is monitoring and tracking the spread of the virus to help Louisiana flatten the curve and keep everyone as safe as possible,” said Blue Cross President and CEO I. Steven Udvarhelyi, M.D. “Our commitment to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians is further reinforced during this time as we commit significant resources to help the state in its emergency response.”

“Blue Cross’ comprehensive platform offers a secure location for data from state and private healthcare sources, with technologies and modeling that has become one of the decisive tools to guide our actions,” said Secretary of the Department of Health Courtney N. Phillips. “Allowing each of the nine healthcare regions within the state to be assessed separately, it’s also a helpful guide in understanding and addressing the different healthcare capacities across the state. As the governor has said, we are grateful for the deeply collaborative relationship with Blue Cross during this time.”

Through its proprietary Performance Insights platform known as Pi, Blue Cross has configured the “Louisiana COVID-19 Outbreak Tracker,” which state officials have been using to track the spread of the virus in Louisiana.

Blue Cross and state officials also can use the tool to demonstrate predictive disease modeling, which lets them track flattening of the curve in each of the state’s nine regions, as well as simulate scenarios.

The Blue Cross Pi tool visually tracks, analyzes and displays key information for Medicaid and Blue Cross members. Blue Cross and LDH exchange data securely and protect peoples’ privacy through Business Associate and Data Use Agreements, which limit access to and use of the data.

The data includes:

· Near real-time information on Medicaid and Blue Cross members’ admissions, discharges and transfers from healthcare facilities, clinical conditions, telehealth use, medical service authorizations, medical claims, demographics, which employer groups or plan types they belong to, and their health status risk scores

· Hospitals’ bed and ventilator availability and census

· Positive cases that have been recorded by the state lab

Data available also covers emergency room, urgent care, elective surgery, inpatient and outpatient events, as well as diagnosis codes, descriptions and discharge dispositions.

“Thanks to this impressive Blue Cross tool and the experts behind it, we can combine real-time data with the knowledge Blue Cross has developed as it serves Louisiana residents, understanding we are distinct to the U.S. norm,” said Jeanie Donovan, policy director of the Louisiana Department of Health. “Our partnership is powerful because of the vast data infrastructure that allows a collaborative team to create artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms tailored for Louisiana residents and then act.”

For example, Blue Cross’ AI-driven predictive model that was developed to assess a person’s risk of needing hospital care now can be used to identify COVID-19 patients who are at risk for the most serious complications because of their underlying conditions – before their conditions progress into worse outcomes.

Blue Cross initially created the tool to engage providers and support its in-house care team of clinicians and employer groups by tracking overall clinical quality and identifying members who can benefit most from its Care Management programs.

“We have developed a robust analytic capability over the past several years by incorporating big data and advanced architectures and solutions to provide timely, actionable insight to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. And that’s become even more significant during this time,” said Somesh Nigam, the chief analytics and data officer for Blue Cross. “These data insights continue to help Blue Cross make strategic decisions about how to use resources and see which interventions are working successfully, and it’s clearly of value to the state, too, in its decision-making during this time.”

For more information on what Blue Cross is doing for members during the COVID-19 situation, visit www.bcbsla.com/covid19 [bcbsla.com]. For the latest information, guidance and data on COVID-19 in Louisiana, visit www.ldh.la.gov/coronavirus [ldh.la.gov].