Powering Public Health Outcomes Using Analytics

During the pandemic, SAS has been helping various government units in many countries with its analytics expertise in areas ranging from epidemiology to public health management.

SAS, the leading analytics software company, recently announced its partnership with National Health Authority (NHA), the apex government body implementing India’s flagship public health insurance/assurance scheme Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY).  

Ensuring the intended outcomes from social development programs has been a huge problem in India. SAS’ data analytics solution would help NHA’s National Anti-Fraud Unit (NAFU) monitor fraud and abuse arising anywhere in the implementation structure of the scheme.  Through a health-care specific fraud and abuse data model that consolidates data from internal and external sources including claims systems, third parties as well as unstructured text, NHA’s overall objective of detecting and minimizing health care fraud would be met.   

BW Businessworld recently caught up with Noshin Kagalwalla, VP & MD, SAS India to get an overview about the company’s strategic thrust areas in India and to know how it has helped India with analytics and data intelligence during the pandemic and beyond.  

What are some of the specific pandemic-related analytics work being done by SAS in India?

Since the breakout of the pandemic, SAS is working with customers across government, health care, life sciences and other sectors. We have set up a special team internally (i.e. COVID Incident Command System (ICS)) to co-ordinate SAS efforts to support our customers through this crisis.

In addition, we are partnering with health care providers and state public health agencies to implement epidemiological models that can help predict the timing and magnitude of the COVID-19 infection in the community and peak demand on health care resources. 

As part of our effort to keep our community informed, SAS developed a dedicated COVID-19 Data Analytics Resources Hub, a public dashboard to monitor the spread of the epidemic, a data discovery environment built on SAS® Viya®. We have a specific India report as well.  

We are working with the central and state Governments with COVID 19 related solutions developed to enable contact tracing, situational awareness, or critical response analysis for public health as well as solutions that can monitor public safety including child welfare. 

We are working with governments to optimize medical resources, so citizens get the best health outcomes possible and use predictive analytics to allocate critical, high-demand resources like hospital beds, ventilators, etc. 

Is there a specific example in public health you would like to highlight? 

SAS has been enabling the Government of Odisha to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in the state using the SAS Coronavirus Outbreak Management solution. 

This custom-built solution - Odisha State COVID-19 Dashboard, enables the government to estimate susceptible population and required resources such as hospital beds & ventilators. 

This collaboration is helping the government with simulation analysis, which provides insights on many aspects including the impact of the different lockdown situations and migrant influx on the infection rate thereby assessing the best- and worst-case scenarios. 

For a company that began as a statistical analysis software vendor that later morphed into a business intelligence software vendor, how would you describe SAS’ current market focus and future roadmap? 

From a go-to-market perspective, we are focused on AI & advanced analytics, cloud, data management, risk management, customer intelligence, and fraud intelligence. Our advanced analytics software (that includes predictive forecasting, text analytics, etc.) is infused with cutting-edge, innovative algorithms that can help customers solve the most intractable problems and unearth opportunities they would otherwise be a miss. Our proven methodologies and best practices have helped organizations prevent fraud, establish a risk-aware culture, optimize capital and liquidity, and meet regulatory demands.   

So, in the current milieu, what’s SAS’ value proposition for various industries?   

We are working with organizations in the Banking, Financial Services & Insurance industry to identify and remediate COVID-19 impacts with a Risk and Finance Lab to urgently explore data, perform model review and overlay, and make analytically driven decisions. In a time of continual market turbulence, we are also helping strengthen scenario analysis and stress testing with a Simulation and Forecast Lab.  

In the banking industry, this helps create a single environment for credit portfolio management to efficiently monitor lending and exposure in a time of unprecedented credit demand. While in the insurance sector, it ensures claims officers are assisted with rapid analytics insights they need to deter opportunistic fraud while settling legitimate claims quickly. 

Axis Bank now uses SAS to improve Risk Management throughout the organization and make the best possible business decisions. The solution helps derive meaningful information from huge sets of data which in turn helps in better audit trials, enable early-warning system about potential problems. as well as make better risk decisions. 

In the manufacturing, retail and CPG industries, we are working with organizations in demand planning stability so as to adapt to the new buying behaviour and also with end-to-end supply chain planning to help determine optimal supply chain actions with new inventory, goods on order, product substitutions and demand fluctuations.  

For example, we helped Asian Paints to transform its demand strategy to reshape its consumer focus. The key objective at Asian Paints was to improve forecasting to enhance its processes and achieve greater accuracy in demand planning. By embedding a layer of SAS analytics in the planning ecosystem, streamlining supply with demand workstream was made possible. This resulted in better and enhanced forecast accuracy.  


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