Health care productivity

This is one of those glass-half-full, half-empty moments, via Insurance Technology.

Excellus BCBS, upstate New York’s Blue Cross plan, has reduced its data processing time by 70% by moving to a more sophisticated database system based in SAS. (Non-quants: SAS has been writing database management software since the mainframe era.)

Half-full: SAS and the insurer now claim actuaries have “more time to analyze data and predict future membership trends and medical claims expenses.”

Half-empty: The old system used Microsoft Access to analyze 100 million records.

100 million records? In Access?

It would take me a long time to figure out how to express my astonishment that in 2010 a company used Access to process a database that size. No matter how long it took, though, it would still be less time than the queries these guys were running.

Glad to see Excellus is coming around.

Are all health insurers this efficient?


2 thoughts on “Health care productivity

  1. bjcefola says:

    I think if they are routinely running queries against a db with 100’s of millions of records someone needs to rethink the data structure- there is probably a way of summarizing to a smaller and more workable file.

  2. Lyle says:

    The question is was access used as a front end to SQL server, in which case the issue is not as bad, the database size is such that the built in engine would not handle it so Access had to be providing a front end to the SQL server. (ODBC). SQL server is an industrial strength database engine. Access allows easy development of queries and displays from the back end data base. So we do need to know a bit more about the application before jumping on it.

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