Emerging visualization tools will offer unprecedented access to data and streamline decision-making, says Jim Goodnight, the founder and CEO of data analytics firm SAS. Using visualization tools, end users can create customized reports and display them in graphical manners, such as pie charts, bar graphs, or other visual representations. For Goodnight, the capacity will boost payers’ ability to root out fraud or even map out epidemiological trends.
“You can take billions of rows of data, and in seconds look at anything you want,” he says. “You can look at procedures being done and see what the price differentials are. You can map out epidemiology across a state to see if certain areas having problems. A payer can see one area of the state that has more medical device claims than other areas, and look for fraud where claims are out of line. Anything you want to do you can do in a second or two.”
SAS is providing analytics services and related visualization services to three states in the process of forming all-payer claims databases mandated by the federal health reform effort, Goodnight says. One of them is North Carolina and the other two are in the final stages of negotiations, he says. Goodnight sees the all-payer databases as offering “a grand opportunity. For the first time in history, you can look at every claim with every payer and see exactly what we spend our money on. You can see which hospitals are charging way too much for a drug. You will be able to explore health data in a way you could never do before.”
Goodnight hopes that one day the United States will create national or even regional clinical outcomes databases similar to the claims databases now emerging at the state level. Such databases would need to be de-identified, he says, but could offer insight into pharmaceutical side effects that now take years to understand.
Since Goodnight launched the firm in 1976, SAS has grown to 13,500 international employees, including 6,000 in the U.S. Its analytics software is used by a wide variety of companies, including retailers, banks and insurance companies.
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