Blue Cross Data Scientists and Care Team Members Share Research in National, International Journals

July 20, 2021

BATON ROUGE, La. – Sharing lessons learned and best practices is part of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana’s mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Through original research, data scientists, clinicians and other subject matter experts evaluate the insurer’s programs and services designed to improve members’ health outcomes and show results. This lets employers, providers and other stakeholders learn from Blue Cross’ work. 

Recently, a team of Blue Cross data scientists, along with pharmacists, nurses and other members of the insurer’s in-house care team, had their health and wellness research published in national and international journals. 

“At the forefront of thought leadership in healthcare research, Blue Cross continues to share how we can enhance quality in healthcare, including during a pandemic,” said Somesh Nigam, chief analytics and data officer. “The technology, tools and team we have honed to focus on our state’s high burden of chronic diseases continues. And, it has allowed us to quickly use those resources for our ongoing COVID-19 response and collaborations with state officials.”  

Blue Cross’ Recent Research Publications

The clinical program assessments were part of the 2021 International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) conference. They also were in Value in Health, the journal for the professional society for health economics and outcomes research. 

The American Journal of Managed Care published their evaluation of a Blue Cross drug program. It improves medicine adherence by getting rid of financial barriers for members with chronic conditions. 

Blue Cross research published in Value in Health after the May 2021 annual ISPOR conference are: 

Using Risk of Hospitalization Predictive Model to Help Louisiana Identify Patients at High Risk for COVID-19 Hospital Admission

Using Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning to Predict the Risk of Hospitalizations for Medicaid Patients

The Healthcare Effects of the Ochsner Hypertension Digital Medicine Program

Measuring Impactability – A Game Changer in the Management of High-Risk Members

How Clinical Pharmacy Provider Dashboards May Prevent Avoidable Adverse Events and Reduce Total Cost of Care

The programs cover Care Management services and explore how advanced analytics techniques can lead to better health outcomes, especially for members with long-term conditions like diabetes or heart disease. These techniques include predictive modeling, natural language processing, machine learning and cloud analytics.

“We are successfully sharing our integrated efforts that are leading to improved health outcomes, lower costs, greater member engagement and an overall better member experience,” Nigam said. “It’s all about solving healthcare challenges by turning data in our platform, Pi, into timely, actionable insights to improve the health and lives of Louisianians.” 

Among these efforts is a Blue Cross program that offers members with long-term conditions who are enrolled in Care Management $0 medicine co-pays for select drugs. It’s a research topic that Blue Cross has shared in various analyses over the past four years as the program expanded.

The research published in June confirms healthcare savings and improved rates of members taking medicines as directed. It noted the program’s sensitivity to socio-economic status. Low-income members had greater improvement in taking their medicines as directed compared to higher-income members.

The researchers concluded, “These findings suggest that eliminating co-pays for key medications used for treating chronic illnesses may help contain costs and potentially improve health equity.”

“Thanks to the partnership between the data team and our in-house care team, we can better target outreach and connect our highest-risk members with services,” said Dr. Stephanie Mills, Blue Cross chief medical officer. “They can get no-cost health coaching and support to be healthier and avoid hospital stays or other intense treatment. This innovative teamwork would not be possible without Blue Cross’ investment in our in-house data and analytics capabilities over the past few years. It shows what we can accomplish by pairing research insights with clinical interventions.” 

Thought Leadership in Healthcare Research

Blue Cross data analytics leaders believe creating and evaluating programs that solve healthcare challenges are key to helping lift Louisiana’s historically poor health outcomes. Sharing that work through channels like these healthcare journals also is important. 

“What we learn helps our members – and it can improve healthcare in Louisiana and influence the industry nationwide,” Nigam said. 

Blue Cross’ Thought Leaders page in its online newsroom shares points of view, research updates and videos from Nigam and other experts. 

Watch the latest Thought Leaders video, “Louisiana's Success Tracking COVID-19, Thanks to Blue Cross” (2:34). It features Nigam talking about his team’s capabilities and expertise that allowed them to quickly assist state health leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic. That effort continues today. The collaboration earned a prestigious national award for innovation from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association in 2021. 

Visit the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana YouTube channel to see short videos on health topics. Subscribe to know when new videos are available. You can connect with Blue Cross on social media for regular updates. Blue Cross posts often on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and now, TikTok.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We have been recognized for the past three years as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.  

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at or talk to us on social media.