Commercial risk will be a critical catalyst of progress – it’s complicated, but is it possible? We think so.

Blog Post

How you know the data is good enough to act

By Megan Clark

June 28, 2022

    Data (the biggest, broadest definition) is often the elephant in the room of our VBC conversations. As one executive asked: "how do you know the data is good enough to act?"

    There is of course no one right answer – but many takes:

    Never perfect, but when it lets us do new things

    "We know the data is good enough when it allows us to ask and answer different-in-kind questions that align with who we want to be and what we want to do, and not just who we have been historically. We know we're doing a good enough job with the data when we're able to make the data actionable. Getting there requires us to move beyond claims and even clinical data to other sources (genetic, SDOH). The data will never be perfect or free from bias because health care delivery is neither of those two things."

    – Solomon Banjo, Life Sciences Research

    When having and using it solves more problems than it creates

    "What could happen if we viewed data through the Hippocratic Oath? If we evaluated data the same we evaluate clinical interventions? "First, do no harm." There will always be challenges with data, the insights it provides, and those insights being actionable. But when the data does more good than harm, then it's good enough to act on."

    – Daniel Kuzmanovich, Value-Based Care Research

    When its predictably imperfect

    "From my perspective consistency matters here. If the data is somewhat flawed, it should be consistently flawed so that you can still see patterns and trends. For example, my smart watch doesn't perfectly count my steps. Instead of getting hung up on whether I hit 10,000 steps exactly, I can feel confident that I am getting the right trends in my overall activity."

    – Rachel Woods, host of Radio Advisory podcast

    When we know what to exclude

    "We don't have a data scarcity problem, we have a data abundance problem. The challenge is figuring out which data to include—and exclude—based on what's most meaningful for your patient population and organizational goals. Don't let perfect be enemy of the good. Act with what you have now to refine your approach to risk stratification."

    – Eliza Dailey, Physician Research

    When we can come back to it for multiple business decisions

    "We know the data is good enough when it becomes an accepted part of the basic business processes of an organization.  In the realm of data licensing that is most easily observed when organizations either continuously come back for the data across multiple business questions or decide to invest in multi-year deals.  Good enough means that an organization is comfortable with the data being part of the fabric of their decision-making processes and they have accepted the fact that whole not perfect, their business decisions won't change because the data provides the necessary foundation of accurate information."

    – Louis Brooks, Real World Data

    When it fits our evolving care team

    "The data is good enough to act today. The constraint isn't the data - it's the workforce and processes for using the data. For example, the list of patients identified for high-risk care management or with closable care gaps are still greater than the staff available to address these needs. That's good news. Act now. Evolve how you deploy care teams to reach more patients. And, the data will only continue to evolve in ways that help the team and the process."

    – Megan Clark, Value-Based Care Research

    Value-based care should be more than a buzzword by now


    Advisory Board has been researching whether commercial risk is possible. To understand the path forward, we’ve collaborated with experts from around the industry and analyzed a national database of commercial claims.

    Explore our work to learn how you can help push the industry toward a new cost and quality standard.

    Access the Resources

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