In Highmark Health’s Pursuit of a Remarkable Customer Experience, Trusted Data is Essential

Last Published: Aug 05, 2021 |
Thomas Brence
Thomas Brence

Senior Director, Product Marketing: Data Quality and Governance

Whether your organization is a locally owned small business or the second largest integrated healthcare delivery and financing system in the United States, you understand that providing a positive experience to your customers is critical to your success. It’s what keeps your clients satisfied. It’s what builds your reputation. It’s what keeps customers coming back for more—and telling their friends about your company. But you can’t provide top-notch experiences if the information you’re working with is outdated, is difficult to understand or contradicts itself, is inaccessible, or just can’t be trusted by your employees. You’ll discover that you need to offer a centralized, enterprise-wide data governance program to ensure that your data is of high quality, so that every member of your data community can easily find, understand, and rely upon it. And this is true because you want to want to achieve the objective of having positive experiences with your customers.  

But what if the goal you’re striving for is even bigger? What if you want your customers’ experience to remarkable? Extraordinary? Exceptional? In that case, data governance is no longer just necessary: it becomes essential. 

Join us for the next episode of the Data Empowerment Experts Series as Anthony Roscoe, Director of Enterprise Data Governance at Highmark Health, highlights their path to success. He’ll share their goals of providing a remarkable experience for all of their customers, clients, and patients. You’ll discover how a centralized data platform, one powered by master data managementdata qualityreference datacataloging, and governance, was essential to scale adoption, increase speed to market, and simplify interactions.  

As I have done with each episode of the Data Empowerment Experts Series, I sat down with Anthony for an interactive Q&A to learn more about his perspective and path to governance in advance of our webinar.   

Question: What’s your background and how did you get into the world of governance?

Answer: I completed my undergraduate education at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences in Health Information Management with a minor in Computer Science. That provided me the opportunity to sit for the exam to be certified as a Registered Health Information Administrator with the American Health Information Management Association. I then worked primarily as a Business Intelligence and Data Warehouse developer for several years in the healthcare field. After a few years, I enter a program at Pitt’s Law School to get a Master of Studies in Law with a concentration in Health Law. While I continued to work in the IT field, my passion always stayed with data and how we manage it so that we remember the lives behind our data points. As my career continued, I eventually had an opportunity to build the Data Architecture practice at HM Health Solutions. About 2 years ago, I applied to this new position and I was hired to continue advancing our Data Governance practice at Highmark Health. I truly feel that my education and training, along with my technical and leadership experiences, prepared me for this role. I have also had many wonderful mentors and colleagues along the way who guided me on my path here. 

Question: Who are the best advocates for data at your organization?

Answer: There are so many people throughout the organization that advocate for data it would be hard to narrow the list down. We have some amazing consumers of our data in our various analytics and data science teams that are driving innovation, but I cannot mention them without also noting the many physicians and researchers utilizing data to ensure our members and patients are able to embrace their health. Over the past year, Highmark Health has named a Chief Analytics Officer (Richard Clarke) and has worked to centralize both our analytics and data offices as appropriate for our Blended Health organization. Being involved in our Enterprise Data Governance Program, I am lucky to see so much of this first-hand. However, many of our data advocates are also engaged with us as Data Owners, Stewards, and members of our Data Governance Core Council and Data Governance Committees. These groups represent all areas of our business as well as our Privacy, Security, Risk, Compliance, and Human Resource areas. Our best advocates are the folks working with our data, day in and day out, whether they sit in the C-Suite, or are helping someone calling in to a customer service line. 

Question: How can you help to improve data literacy?

Answer: There are so many ways we are actively working to improve data literacy. My role is really to coordinate the overall effort as well as evangelize our efforts which all begins with the foundations of a good data governance program. You can have a Data 101 course everyone must take, but it is not very helpful if you do not have an inventory and catalog of your data as well as a trusted and managed business glossary. Of course, you will not have those things completed quickly, even if you have been working on governance for years. Incremental gains and iterations are important to achieve results, but so is critical mass when it comes to content and adoption. This all requires a great deal of collaboration across all of the areas I mentioned before as advocates for data. No one person can achieve data literacy for an organization.  

Question: What parts of your business benefit most from having trusted data?

Answer: When it comes to actual life and death decisions, having trusted data is key. In that regard, our clinical staff in our hospitals and other care settings benefit the most, which means that our patients and members benefit the most. I would add that because of our efforts around AI, the potential to make massive amounts of decisions in seconds requires trusted data so that those end up being good decisions. As we continue to chart new territory in managing a person’s health via these technological advances in analytics, trusted data will continue to be absolutely necessary. 

Question: How have you helped to build a data culture?

Answer: Building a data culture is a natural byproduct of the continued evolution of our data governance program. I call myself a Data Evangelist with a passion for people and healthcare, and I try to live up to that every day. In many ways, building a data culture as a Data Scientist, a Data Engineer, or even a Chief Data Officer is exciting and flashy because they are playing with the new toys and paving the way for amazing discoveries. Being a Data Governance professional requires a certain level of joie de vivre to help inspire the people in those roles to do the right thing at all times while fully treating our data as a strategic asset. I help build a data culture every day by showing up and enthusiastically embracing my part in enabling our organization to achieve its goals while adhering to the various regulations imposed on us as well as our values that sit at the core of what we do. 

To hear more from Anthony about the Highmark Health journey, join the next episode of the Data Empowerment Experts series. 

First Published: Mar 11, 2021