(US & Canada) | Organizations Should Have Dedicated Dollars for Retiring Legacy Assets — Horizon BCBS of New Jersey Chief Analytics Officer

Vijay Venkatesan, Chief Analytics Officer at Horizon BCBS of New Jersey, speaks with Ron Rogers, Principal Consultant at AHEAD, in a video interview about workforce transformation, strategies to remove unwanted data sets and legacy assets, the role of regulation in technology adoption, and how to advance quality care in the future.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey provides health insurance coverage to more than 3.8 million people throughout all of North, Central, and South Jersey.

Speaking of workforce transformation at BCBS, Venkatesan states that the first strategy is to be able to paint a clear picture of the data, analytics, and AI vision. In addition, it is necessary to list out the tools and technologies in the context, have the workforce exposed to them, and upskill them through training.

As a part of upskilling, BCBS is modernizing the data foundation by bringing the workforce from a traditional mainframe to using powerful technologies like the cloud, AWS, and Snowflake.

Organizations need to reimagine the workforce conversation in the world of AI, says Venkatesan. He believes that skillsets such as LLM architecture and prompt engineering will be critical in the future.

Therefore, the organization is planning to have robust internship models for these skillsets, in collaboration with universities, to get people in and exposed to healthcare, says Venkatesan. Further, BCBS is looking for partnerships across vendors to learn from whoever has a good work skill transformation program and integrate that at an organizational level.

The hardest thing to do, as an organization, is to review the need to reimagine the functions, notes Venkatesan. He adds that it does not come easy, especially in healthcare.

In the future, people may not need analysts on demand, but analysts who can secure the data context for users to understand, and that can be done by leveraging intelligent tools. Thus, it is crucial to reinterpret what functions should look like with bots and intelligent automation.

According to Venkatesan, this is where organizations will struggle, specifically healthcare, as the majority of systems are legacy, and long-term operational employees are unaccustomed to reimagining them.

Highlighting the strategies to remove the unwanted data sets, Venkatesan maintains that legacy data sets are applications in themselves that, over time, become operational data stores.

The organization therefore identified the high-value data assets that needed retirement. For example, to retire the mainframe data warehouse, the organization issued an update stating that it is in maintenance mode and no new assets will be built off of it.

Secondly, BCBS created a data pipeline into the future state assets and pivoted all data going to the legacy assets into the new asset, which will be validated for accuracy and completeness.

The third strategy included unbundling the hanging applications and assessing the right way to reposition them in the modern asset, says Venkatesan. He continues that it is a deliberate and repeatable exercise that organizations must take on.

According to Venkatesan, it is challenging for healthcare systems to retire legacy assets. He states that the legacy process must be a part of the operational core budget because it is not done overnight. It is a three-year roadmap and must be carried out as a focused effort rather than an incremental effort.

Moving forward, Venkatesan states that technology adoption happens when a regulatory body decides on a way to move forward. For instance, if an entity like CMS decides on a certain way of conducting future transactions, that becomes a clear mandate for people to organize themselves around it. This also promotes transparency across the industry, he adds. 

Having a mandate also helps organize what can be done regarding member experience. This includes making the portals intelligent and the interactions useful to learn and build the right intelligent automation into the modalities.

It boils down to learning the best way to interact because not all members are the same, and in terms of innovating a healthcare initiative, it becomes easier with a mandate.

To advance the quality of care in healthcare, Venkatesan affirms the need to continue building while attempting to reduce timelines to achieve outcomes. Whether it is privacy, security, or mandated regulations, organizations have been unable to reduce the innovation cycle.

Furthermore, shrinking the innovation cycle requires a framework with a solid data foundation, says Venkatesan. Consequently, organizations must be prepared to ensure that data is robust and that the sprint cycle to reach those outcomes is faster.

In conclusion, Venkatesan urges organizations to adopt an agile mindset across the healthcare continuum because any one entity cannot resolve issues; rather, it requires handshakes across many.

CDO Magazine appreciates Vijay Venkatesan for sharing his insights with our global community.

Also Read
(US & Canada) | Governance Framework Is the Constitution for Data Democracy — Horizon BCBS of New Jersey Chief Analytics Officer
(US & Canada) | Organizations Should Have Dedicated Dollars for Retiring Legacy Assets — Horizon BCBS of New Jersey Chief Analytics Officer

Executive Interviews

No stories found.
CDO Magazine