October 18, 2017

RIMS Review: Jim Harris on Analytics, AI, and The Crystal Ball

During our time at RIMS 2017, we had Workers’ Comp industry stakeholders participate in WorkCompWire’s “RIMS Review” series, focused on what to look for this year, and key takeaways from the conference! Here’s what Jim Harris, VP, Analytics & Reporting at Genex Services had to say:

Jim Harris RIMS 2017What do you believe will be the most significant development in the Worker’s Comp industry for this year?
Addiction to opioid painkillers is still an epidemic. Workers’ comp has a high rate of opioid use and abuse, due to the types of injuries we see in our industry. There’s been a lot of progress in medication safety, especially with nurse case managers helping to monitor and identify situations that require intervention. But, new on the horizon is the potential for medical marijuana to serve as an alternative treatment for chronic pain, particularly when other therapies have failed. We’ve already seen several cases of this in New Mexico. Currently, medical marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, but more than half the states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for various medical purposes. Some practice guidelines recommend banning the use of medical marijuana while others remain silent. With the conflict of Federal and state laws, and a treatment that is not FDA approved and lacks clinical trials to support its use, it will be interesting to see how this alternate form of pain management plays out in the comp system.

What is the top challenge you and your organization are currently working on?
My world is data—collecting it, analyzing it, reporting on it. For some time now, we’ve been able to precisely report on an organization’s claims history, both in medical spend and claim outcomes, and slice and dice that information in various ways so organizations can see and address their problem areas. More and more these days, I’m being asked whether technology can help predict when claims are headed south. There’s a lot of power in being able to do this. Organizations would be able to head off runaway claims by applying clinical resources to get those cases back on track in terms of care, costs and recovery. We’re developing applications of increasingly sophisticated predictive models that are constructing a crystal ball of sorts. It’s gaining more accuracy in terms of the specific indicators that flag claims as outliers, and we’re even starting to see machine learning being applied, a type of artificial intelligence that enables computers to analyze streams of data to identify new indicators of claims escalation. We are very excited about how these new technologies and predictive analytics will better assist us and our clients in structuring the most effective programs to control claims costs.

The RIMS Conference always has some great takeaways – what was one for you?
It’s great that data analytics is playing a larger role in workers’ compensation. I was encouraged to see more sessions focusing on big data and data science. Through conversations I’ve had with colleagues here, there’s been more of a buzz about how to better use data in claims management. More industry professionals seem to have an appreciation of how data and technology can be leveraged to improve processes and have a real impact on claims costs and outcomes. Now the trick is to turn your data into actionable, decision-making results.

What is one thing you’d like to promote?
Genex is presently in the middle of a multi-million-dollar initiative to develop a state-of-the-art, sophisticated data and reporting platform, known as Unity. This platform will enable us to better analyze client information with even greater power and flexibility. We hear a lot these days about big data, but unless you can get your hands around the information and put it together in a meaningful way for your customers, you can’t really help them improve results. Unity is an example of our commitment to industry excellence. We recognize that consistent clinical, operational and technical excellence are critical to capturing data with integrity to deliver the best possible services and outcomes to our customers and for injured workers. Unity, as an integrated platform, will provide analytics and predictive trends linking data across our case management, utilization review and independent medical examination services. We will assist customers to better predict severity, outcomes, and high utilization points across the continuum of care. We’ll also be able to look at data in even more ways that help our customers modify programs and better utilize services to ultimately achieve greater savings and enhanced results.

About Jim Harris
Jim Harris is Vice President, Analytics & Reporting at Genex Services where he is responsible for expanding the portfolio of reporting, analytic and predictive modeling tools for customers and field operations. With over 25 years of experience in workers’ compensation, he’s able to provide organizations with the intelligence they need to continually improve program performance.

Disclosure:
Genex Services is a WorkCompWire ad partner.
This is not a paid placement.

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