“This [The rise of data in HR functions] is good news for human resources professionals, according to researchers: The management of data is a new area where HR can make significant impact on external stakeholders, something CEOs want dearly from the HR function,” a recent report from the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) said. “The bad news: So far, this has not been an area where HR has a proven track record.”

Proven track record or not, it was just a couple of years ago when the HR team at Palmetto Health, the largest and most comprehensive healthcare system in the South Carolina Midlands, decided to stay one step ahead of the curve and put data to work for their population.

Palmetto Health’s challenge rose from managing just under 11,000 members on two different health plans (family leaves and medical disability) alongside two pharmacy data feeds (dental and vision) and centered on finding the best way to integrate the disparate data. A solution that, in the end, the HR team hoped would help them better understand the group’s healthcare costs.

“[Competencies like understanding information gathered from data] can help businesses pivot from information discovery, now a commodity, to swifter interpretation of complex information patterns, notes Dave Ulrich, a professor at the University of Michigan and a partner at The RBL Group,” HRCI said. “This is a gap that HR can fill to help organizations make sense of unstructured information.”

And make sense of “unstructured information” is exactly what Palmetto Health, with the help of DHS Group’s HealthSpective program, accomplished. Together, Palmetto Health and DHS Group implemented a data integration program to deliver novel analytics and transform disconnected data into actionable intelligence and insights.

On the surface level, the program has allowed Palmetto Health to continue to improve the health status of its broader community. However, when studied closer, key benefits include seamless integration with Palmetto Health’s additional wellness programs, savings of approximately 2 percent on health plan costs (through year two of active management), improved data management opportunities for plan administrators and the enhanced management of cost beyond traditional plan design.

“Technology is changing HR,” HRCI said. “But HR can also help change how people in organizations gather and use data produced by new technological innovations. Without a doubt, analytics and big data can mean sounder decision-making, impactful leadership and increased business value.”


Interested in learning more about DHS Group’s HealthSpective platform or requesting a brief demo of the program?