Jason Cooper has been crunching numbers for years-just the focus of his analytics efforts have changed.

Until 2004, as a senior systems engineer for Titan Systems, he conducted independent verification and validation of spaceflight software for missions including the International Space Station, the Space Shuttle and other unmanned efforts, such as New Horizons, which recently did a fly-by study of Pluto. As exciting as that was, healthcare drew him in. "My mother was a nurse for over 30 years, and I witnessed her play an active role in changing people's lives through professional nursing," he says. It was a natural segue, he adds-"I simply went from using my experience to keep a handful of men and women healthy in a challenging environment called space, to leveraging those talents to keep millions of people healthy in a challenging environment called earth." At Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Cooper enthusiastically leads enterprise-wide analytics supporting the organization in areas ranging from healthcare management, government programs and finance to human resources, legal and sales/marketing. He sees great potential for analytics to improve the health, and lives, of Horizon members and American consumers.

On the role of analytics

Like other functions within organizations, analytics has been thought of purely as a cost center. That should change-if an organization has made the decision to align analytics leadership and make some fundamental investments to support analytics evolution, it should be able to measure and track and prove its value to the business missions. If you take the healthcare triple aim-improving quality, reducing cost and improving the patient experience-analytics can positively affect each of those.

On support for analytics

Analytics need data; if you don't have clean and well integrated data, it's difficult to perform robust analyses. We need to be aligned with our data partners; we want to make sure we have the ecosystem to support our analytics efforts. We have to make sure analytics initiatives are aligned with the organization's strategic initiatives. Analytics needs to have an organizational focus by leadership, and it needs investment. We have senior-level support for analytics here at Horizon; I wouldn't be here in this role if that weren't the case.

On value-based models

We have a robust suite of value-based reimbursement models across the state of New Jersey. More than 6,000 physicians are participating in value-based agreements covering 750,000 members.

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