Using Data to Improve Health and Wellness - Identity Review - Identity Review | Global Tech Think Tank

Acxiom, a customer intelligence company that provides data-driven solutions for businesses, has started a new project in cooperation with McCann Health, Stanford Healthcare Innovation Laband Veeva Crossix to highlight how consumer data can enhance healthcare.

“By carefully breaking down silos across the industry, ethically cultivating the plethora of data, and utilizing advanced analytics, better health outcomes and improved social change are inevitable and beneficial to all,” said Chad Engelgau, Acxiom CEO. 

The Growing Importance of Data Collection

In the context of the world’s response to COVID-19, leveraging data can create substantial impact in health care. For example, Los Angeles’s response to the pandemic has been entirely based on data science, using numbers of cases and deaths organized by demographic to find the most vulnerable areas and allocate resources there. 

From analyzing sales data to understand which products are most important during lockdown to using movement data to understand the rate of travel from areas with higher rates of infection, Acxiom has been involved with collecting and distributing data throughout the pandemic. They’ve undoubtedly used the data collection to help benefit communities in need. However, it would be naive to believe that Acxiom, a for-profit company, is purely incentivized by helping the underprivileged.

In general, Acxiom’s clients are companies looking to have more effective, data-driven marketing strategies. They describe their service as follows on their website:

We provide customized computer services designed to help companies manage their customer information more effectively, increase marketing profitability and reduce the operational costs of processing customer transactions”

Thus, this new initiative is an interesting shift in a different direction for the company. However, in light of the healthcare industry becoming more digitized and this type of data collection becoming more feasible, the change makes more sense. According to FAIR Health’s Telehealth tracker, telehealth claim lines increased by almost 4,000% from July 2019 to July 2020. Additionally, a recent Acxiom consumer research study shows that people are more inclined to share their health data if there is hope that it will help stop the current pandemic or prevent a future one.

There is an opportunity to make a positive impact by collecting this data and Acxiom may be seizing the moment. Afterall, as said by Engelgau, Acxiom does promise to be “enablers in the ethical uses of new data that improve the health and wellness of our communities.”

Acxiom’s Priorities Moving Forward

As we enter this new era of healthcare, the explosion of data is projected to continue growing. While there is clearly the potential for a major positive impact, there is also the threat of carelessness leading to unethical practices. 

Bryan Donovan, Vice President of Data Strategy and Acquisition at Acxiom, made it clear what the company’s priorities are going into the future. 

“Acxiom has a history of ethical data use for more than 50 years, and we believe that privacy impact assessments are a best practice in the industry and a crucial tool to help investigate the goals, approach and potential risks or consequences to any proposed data use case. They should be used by every organization using health-related data to engage people.”


Sarah Raza is a Tech Innovation Fellow with a background in computer science from Stanford. She is passionate about exploring the implications of increased usage of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

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