Allegheny Health Network will be the first health system to leverage Kinsa’s illness insights to anticipate COVID-19 and flu outbreaks weeks before occurring
PITTSBURGH and SAN FRANCISCO (March 2, 2023) — In the wake of a severe illness season, Highmark Health is deploying Kinsa's real-time illness insights and season forecast to predict health care utilization, recognize staffing needs, and plan emergency department and ICU bed capacity when infectious diseases like COVID-19 and influenza spike.
Kinsa's insights which include prevalence of fever and other symptoms, affected geographies, and how quickly illness is spreading have been shown to accurately forecast the spread of existing diseases weeks to months in advance, and predict the emergence of novel outbreaks like COVID-19 approximately two weeks before an outbreak occurs.
"Kinsa possesses a unique combination of expertise in both data science and epidemiology," said Richard Clarke, PhD, senior vice president, chief analytics officer, Highmark Health. "This blended approach of artificial intelligence and medicine not only informs when and where illness will spread, but also helps organizations like Highmark Health to reduce clinical burn-out and accurately anticipate the needs of our customers so we can provide a remarkable health care experience."
Highmark Health's integrated delivery network, Allegheny Health Network (AHN), will be the first health delivery system to utilize Kinsa's early warning system to model staffing needs and bed capacity. Businesses utilizing Kinsa’s insights across other industries have achieved a 50 percent reduction in forecasting errors.
"In the current health care labor environment, anticipating our staffing needs is critical to our ability to provide optimal care for our patients," said Brian Parker, MD, chief quality and learning officer, AHN. "Kinsa's real-time respiratory illness data and predictive modeling capabilities will help us to stay weeks ahead of the curve when it comes to potential viral surges, and near-future patient flow. We can be proactive, instead of reactive, when it comes to preparing for both potential ED volumes and making changes to our operations."
Getting ahead of these operational changes is imperative in the event of a regional surge in infectious disease, because emergency and ICU volumes increase even as staff members themselves are getting sick, affecting the number of available caregivers.
"When caregivers get sick, we have to shift our personnel," Dr. Parker. "Knowing which communities will be affected first will allow us to allocate our resources in a much more strategic way."
Kinsa aggregates data from many sources and, most importantly, collects the "missing ingredient" data from a proprietary network of millions of households to accurately forecast spreading infectious illness and corresponding demand for healthcare products and services. To capture hyperlocal illness data before someone ever visits the doctor or enters the healthcare system, Kinsa invented a new category of products smart thermometers that, along with its medical guidance mobile apps and email/text alerts, enable Kinsa to communicate with households at symptom onset. Kinsa then applies machine learning and advanced analytics to this anonymized, aggregated data to track and forecast the spread of illness.
"The timing and intensity of illness is highly volatile and hospitals are faced with the tremendous challenge of preparing for the season with little information on what to expect. I'm thrilled to work with Highmark Health to help the system better forecast utilization and plan capacity. By helping health systems optimize their operations so patients get the care they need when they need it, we're furthering our mission to curb the spread of illness" said Inder Singh, founder and CEO of Kinsa.
Highmark Health, a Pittsburgh, PA-based enterprise that employs more than 35,000 people who serve millions of Americans across the country, is the parent company of Highmark Inc., Allegheny Health Network, and HM Health Solutions. Highmark Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates provide health insurance to more than 6 million members in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware and New York as well as dental insurance, and related health products through a national network of diversified businesses. Allegheny Health Network is an integrated delivery network comprised of thirteen hospitals, more than 2,500 affiliated physicians, ambulatory surgery centers, an employed physician organization, home and community-based health services, a research institute, a group purchasing organization, and health and wellness pavilions in western Pennsylvania. HM Health Solutions is focused on meeting the information technology platform and other business needs of the Highmark Health enterprise as well as unaffiliated health insurance plans by providing proven business processes, expert knowledge, and integrated cloud-based platforms. To learn more, visit www.highmarkhealth.org.
Kinsa is an insights solutions business using data and advanced analytics to track and forecast the spread of illness and predict corresponding demand for healthcare products and services. For products in highly volatile categories such as cough, cold, flu, nasal, allergy, Covid, and disinfectants, Kinsa helps brands and retailers reduce out-of-stocks, assess risk and plan more effectively, and enhance marketing & media effectiveness to where and when people need their products. For hospitals, health systems and health insurers, Kinsa helps predict when & where to expect surges in hospitalizations or ED visits, and what to proactively message to keep high risk people healthy.
Kinsa aggregates data from more than 30 sources and, most importantly, collects the "missing ingredient" data from a proprietary network of millions of users to accurately detect and forecast spreading infectious illness. To capture hyperlocal illness data before someone ever visits the doctor or enters the healthcare system, Kinsa invented a new category of products ' smart thermometers ' that along with its medical guidance mobile apps and email/text alerts enables Kinsa to communicate with households at symptom onset. Industry's use of these forecasts helps Kinsa achieve its mission of helping families and communities predict, prepare for, and prevent the spread of illness.