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Anthem: Unlocking Data as the Catalyst for Healthcare 2.0
Anthem and Deloitte reimagine data platforms as the digital backbone for healthcare of the future
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Healthcare is one of the fastest growing and fastest changing industries. Rapid innovation is defining new ways to prevent, detect, and treat health issues. New models for virtual care, AI/ML driven interactions, and dynamic user interfaces are driving greater demands for how technology is used throughout the industry. These new digital interaction models also bring with them the challenge of making complex systems both usable and powerful. It’s no wonder a popular theme among health plan providers is a renewed focus on making the quality of the human experience just as important as the quality of care itself. The drive to improve the customer-centricity of healthcare was already a rising priority before COVID-19 placed an even greater emphasis on technology-driven solutions, such as digital engagement platforms that require rich, dynamic data.
Anthem, Inc – an innovation leader dedicated to improving healthcare – launched a strategic initiative to simplify healthcare, radically enable affordability, and deliver the future of healthcare experience. To create proactive, predictive, and personalized experiences for its consumers, care providers, employers, and communities, Anthem set out to become a digital-first enterprise. The key to that effort was digitizing core assets and re-designing engagement models.
Anthem’s new Enterprise Data Platform (EDP) moved core business domains and capabilities to the AWS cloud. EDP’s mission is to make available critical, real-time data to support the rapid innovation of digital engagement platforms and set a new standard for market-leading consumer experiences.
“Today’s healthcare system is overly complex, creating intractable challenges for our consumers, their families and their providers—and we must change that,” said Anil Bhatt, Chief Technology Officer at Anthem. “As we look to reinvent healthcare, we aim to leverage the power of data to give consumers access to the care services they want and need – where, how, and when they want it.”
Building on a Foundation
At the outset of this journey, Anthem assessed the capabilities of its existing mainframe-based data centers and legacy databases. It found opportunities to improve on areas such as real-time data availability, redundancy, disparate data ingestion patterns, license and vendor limitations, governance, and the ability to reuse the same dataset and services for different business and consumer needs through APIs. Above all, scalability and democratization of data stood out as areas in which the planned transformation through EDP could add value.
Anthem’s existing batch-driven data loads, physical architecture, data models, and services—long considered standard approaches across the industry—had supported the existing experience platforms. The new pace of innovation, however, demanded continuously shrinking development cycles to keep up. Rapid data delivery represented an arena in which it could instead create an adaptive, responsive, flexible system that would react quickly to the changing business landscape.
Deloitte and Anthem’s Partnership
Deloitte and Anthem built a resilient, scalable, reactive—and license-free—data orchestration platform that could support an evolving ecosystem of consumers and products. The effort included a redesign of the traditional mainframe batch-based data platform to handle core business domains into a cost-effective, scalable, reusable, and low maintenance data orchestration platform.
EDP Solution Architecture on AWS:
The Transformation Story
Pivoting to a platform-based organization allowed Anthem to realign its use of data and unlock opportunities for the future. By using open-source technologies and managed AWS products, Deloitte helped Anthem shrink development cycles, democratize and secure data access, transform data to deliver rich user experiences, and improve data governance.
Through EDP, Anthem has been able to pioneer a first-of its-kind, data orchestration platform on AWS that supports market differentiating experiences. EDP allows Anthem to meet the evolving needs of a growing ecosystem of digital products and platforms, with an overall vision that creates market-winning consumer experiences and supports future business and data needs.
Built using event-driven and cloud native technology, open-source products, and AWS, EDP’s architecture drives real-time data transformations, faster go-to-market turnaround, and the scalability to support new data sources.
EDP delivered measurable benefits, including:
Scalable, robust, and resilient data platform, powered by AWS managed offerings, to support the needs of an evolving product ecosystem, capable of seamlessly accommodating future technology disruption
Foundational platform to support the development of new capabilities that use AI/ML, cognitive, analytics, and data science
High degree of data and API reusability through a dedicated Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) layer using GraphQL with schema-aware, self-documented APIs that enable data ontology and extension of use cases
Amazon DocumentDB to store fully transformed and “ready-to-go” NoSQL data, achieving low latency responses of under 1 second SLA, for downstream customers
Configuration-driven multi-stage data transformations
End-to-end tokenization and encryption of PHI data
DevOps and CI/CD automation to reduce cycle times for new feature releases
Minimized operational & maintenance overheads by leveraging services managed by AWS
What’s Possible Now?
Anthem’s strategic vision hinges on two key tenets, “n=1” personalization through consumer-driven whole-health products and services, and its core organizational identity as a platform-enabled health services company. Together, Anthem and Deloitte partnered to ensure the “what” and “how” arose directly from the “why.” As a result, these principles lay at the foundation of the EDP’s architecture, which has given Anthem the capability to:
Manage 45 million active members
Process ~1 billion medical claims
Generate real-time, multi-stage data transformations
Deliver real time Data-As-A-Service (DaaS) democratization
EDP will help Anthem achieve substantial efficiencies in providing healthcare services—an example other health plan providers can follow.
“The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated how reliant the health care system remains on manual processes today,” said Anthem Chief Digital Officer Rajeev Ronanki. “As digitization advances and contactless interactions with distributed workforces become the norm, we believe that we can together leverage digital technologies to reduce legacy processes and redefine the healthcare journey to give consumers the experience they expect in today’s digital world.”
Anthem’s new platform takes advantage of an adaptive model—one that shows it’s possible to use cloud technology to build a set of technology assets that can quickly adapt to an ever-changing sector like healthcare. Because of EDP’s flexibility and simplicity, it can easily morph according to customer and market needs. This opens the way to practically limitless customer-focused solutions. For the industry, a solution such as EDP highlights a path forward. Deloitte stands prepared to help other health plan providers modernize its technology offering, solution by solution, layer by layer, as their own mission demands.