11436 SSO

The Digital Accelerator Interview: Somesh Nigam, Independence Blue Cross

Oct 29, 2014

Independence Blue Cross chief informatics officer Somesh Nigam spoke with us at I ♥ APIs 2014 after his company was named the Digital Accelerator Award winner for best data analytics.

IBC, a major health insurer based in Philadelphia, started its digital journey in the mid-2000s by aggregating all of its formidable data resources into one data warehouse, creating a “single source of truth,” as Nigam put it.

Organizing claims, medication, lab, and wellness data in one place enabled the company to more easily apply algorithms and begin developing a host of novel applications, including the ability to predict potential member complaints.

This represented a big step forward for IBC, Nigam said. Before, it was even difficult to get an accurate count of how many members IBC had, he said.

Now, it’s possible to aim even higher. What if analytics could identify members that might need additional care, or figure out whether are taking the right tests to identify potential new health issues? And, looking even further ahead, what if you could predict the onset of a disease?

“We’re reaching a point where health insurance companies are becoming information gatekeepers for members,” Nigam said. “That’s a lot of data, so you have to apply very, very sophisticated algorithms to figure out who needs what. But by doing that, we are able to reduce hospitalization, reduce cost, and direct members to the right care settings. It allows us to deliver better care.”

APIs and analytics, including the Apigee Insights technology that IBC employs to power its predictive analytics, will play a big role that delivery, Nigam added.

“We can see where the world is moving," he said. 

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