Force for change

Utilizing the Power of Data

February 2023 Business

Barbara Matijašič


Secondary use of data and digital transformation: how the healthcare, insurance and banking sectors can profit from each other’s data.

To facilitate a successful digital transformation, it is crucial to have strong leadership and clear objectives, adequate funding and resources, an effective implementation strategy – and last, but not least, relevant and informative data. There’s an old saying, ‘Garbage in, garbage out’, which means that if you input senseless or defective data, you’re going to get a meaningless output. Digital transformation should be tailored to meet the specific needs of every individual and geared to adhere to the laws of the country. And this is where the use of secondary data comes in – it is the process of collecting and analyzing aggregated and anonymous data that has been previously collected for a different purpose, but whose output can provide beneficial insights into behavior, trends and patterns that can be used to update and enhance digital transformation initiatives without compromising the trust and safety of personal data. This can provide many useful and innovative solutions in all sectors. This article aims to highlight the value and benefits from the transfer of learning between the healthcare, insurance, and banking sectors. They can learn from each other’s experience, as they often face similar obstacles in the context of secondary use of data and digital transformation.

Exchange of knowledge and resources

Cross-sectoral collaboration happens when two or more organizations from different sectors come together to work on a specific project or initiative; it involves an exchange of knowledge and resources between entities in different industries. The main pillars of a successful relationship are mutual understanding, trust, and commitment, in addition to having good communication, shared goals, and a mutual understanding of the benefits of working together. Each partner also needs to be open minded with regards to learning, adapting, and being innovative in order to take full advantage of the different mindset and expertise of the other entity.

This open-minded approach allows both partners to gain new insights, develop innovative solutions to complex problems and discover new ways to leverage resources. A recognized and very well-used example of cross-sectoral collaboration involving the health, banking, and insurance sectors is the development of healthcare payment models. In this type of collaboration, banks, insurers, and healthcare providers work together to develop payment models that are more efficient, transparent, and cost-effective. This collaboration enables healthcare providers to receive payments more quickly, reduces paperwork and administrative costs and improves the financial health of both providers and patients.

When contemplating the secondary use of data and digital transformation, the sensitive question of trust alongside the increased security risk are among the top concerns. However, issues of trust can be overcome by implementing stringent controls that ensure the security and privacy of data, making sure that the data is encrypted and stored securely, as well as the use of user authentication protocols to verify the identity of users. Organizations should also have policies and procedures in place that restrict access to data to those fully authorized.

Finally, organizations should regularly monitor and audit access to data to ensure that it is being used appropriately. A good example of overcoming trust issues between users is in the insurance sector, for example, the insurer within most insurance organizations can easily access a clear and comprehensive privacy policy that outlines the manner in which customer data is stored, used and shared. The process of making changes to the policy and communicating them to their customers is clear and transparent. Insurance organizations also provide detailed information about their services and ensure that customer queries are answered quickly and accurately through online self-service portals. These portals also enable customers to access their policy information and manage their policy online, such as viewing their policy details, paying their premium, filing a claim, and making changes to their policy. On the other hand, security risks in the banking business are addressed using multifactor authentication systems. Users are required to provide more than one type of authentication, for example, use of passwords, biometric scans or SMS codes, to access their accounts. This makes it more difficult for hackers to gain access to sensitive information, and thus protects both the bank and its customers.

Technical solutions are not difficult to find, however the real question is how to motivate people?

So one may ask why the two aforementioned examples of effective working practices in banking and insurance can’t be transferred in a meaningful way to the field of healthcare? The field of healthcare in Slovenia and in the countries of the Western Balkans is one of the more complex sectors, as it connects stakeholders from many different fields, namely, politics, pharmaceuticals, public and private institutes as well as product and service providers. However, the optimization and development of health systems is necessary – especially with regards to the management of the limited resources available to meet the needs of an aging population. Slovenia is one of the EU Member States that is anticipated to have one of the largest increases in social expenditure and health services related to the aging population by the year 2060. However, many of these challenges can be solved using open and trustworthy health data systems. The anonymized data can be used to identify phenomena and trends, as well as aiding the development of the healthcare system through various analytical approaches and the combination of data into meaningful data sets.

Interoperability of data and services is crucial. It supplies a secure exchange of data between different providers and systems, as well as sectors, and leads to efficient digital transformation. The Minister of Digital Transformation, Emilija Stojmenova Duh, stated that digital transformation will be one of the key priorities of the Slovenian government in the coming year. Motivating people to engage is a long-term commitment, ensuring that each partner understands the benefits and has an open mind with regards to adaptation and innovation. However, the anticipated challenges of an aging society and the problems facing the healthcare system cannot wait. They are already here, we must face them and find innovative solutions, and secondary use of data and digital transformation is the way ahead.


This article was originally published in The Adriatic Journal: Strategic Foresight 2023.
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