Niall Brennan Leading Clarify Health Institute

May 11, 2022
New research arm of the San Francisco company seeks to deliver real-world analysis, data-driven insights on trends affecting healthcare organizations, policymakers, and patients

Clarify Health, a cloud analytics and value-based payments platform company, has created the Clarify Health Institute, led by Niall Brennan, who recently joined the company as chief analytics and privacy officer.

Brennan was previously the president and CEO of the Health Care Cost Institute and chief data officer at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, where he led the Obama administration’s healthcare transparency efforts.

The goal of the new research arm of the San Francisco company is to deliver real-world analysis and data-driven insights on topics and trends affecting healthcare organizations, policymakers, and patients. Clarify said it would seek to build greater transparency among stakeholders in the U.S. healthcare system, as well as shine a light on how healthcare is functioning and how it can improve.

Initial projects will focus on differences in healthcare spending and outcomes by type of insurance coverage and social determinants of health. Additional topics will include maternal and child health outcomes, relationships between surgical volume and outcomes, and next generation provider appropriateness of care measures. Results will be disseminated via articles, public use files, dashboards, issue briefs on the Clarify Health website and in peer-reviewed journals.

“We really do have incredible data assets, and I think as an organization we want to be more than just another vendor,” said Brennan in an interview posted on the company website. “We want to take some of the insights from our data and make them more available to the world at large, whether that’s issue briefs, white papers, academic publications, public use files, more interactive consumer-facing data, because there are so many stories that need to be told about healthcare quality, about healthcare cost, about healthcare efficiency. The reality is, despite all the relative progress over the last five to 10 years, there’s still much more that is not known about healthcare spending and quality than is known.”

Brennan also said that patients are frequently a little bit of an afterthought in U.S. healthcare. “We’re very focused on the patient, on making patient journeys better. Can we create consumer-facing applications or information that make it easier for people to navigate healthcare? Think of something as simple as surgical volume,” he added. “We’ve been talking about surgical volume for years. It’s been written about by academics. People always bring it up as a pain point or an area where there is literally no information. Hypothetically, maybe we can bring more information on which surgeons do more of a particular procedure, then the next step is maybe link it to outcomes, and very quickly you’re starting to get at some real impact.”

Clarify Health Institute is working with the Healthcare Transformation Institute at the University of Pennsylvania and its co-directors, Drs. Ezekiel Emanuel and Amol Navathe.

Emanuel is an oncologist, bioethicist and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. He is the current Vice Provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy. Navathe is a practicing physician, health economist and an Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Commissioner on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), a non-partisan agency that advises the US Congress on Medicare policy.

“To improve outcomes and reduce costs of care, it’s important for all stakeholders to have a deep understanding of prevailing healthcare trends and issues,” said Emanuel, in a statement. “Equally as important is being able to identify the opportunities with the highest value to effect change. The data and analytics produced within the Clarify Health Institute will guide those leading the charge as to the most effective ways to target their efforts.”

Clarify Health recently secured $150 million in Series D financing to accelerate the expansion of its intelligence offerings and the adoption of its value-based payments platform.

Clarify recently acquired Embedded Health, a behavior change platform company that was spun out of the University of Pennsylvania’s Healthcare Transformation Institute, drawing on years of evidence-based research in behavioral economics and design. Embedded Healthcare reduces the cost of care for patients by helping clinicians practice more affordably. Its behavioral science platform delivers data and incentives to the point of care and simplifies the design, implementation, and performance of value-based contracts.

Last August, Clarify purchased the Value Optimization business of Apervita, a platform for healthcare collaboration for payers, providers and other stakeholders. At the time, the company said the acquisition, for an undisclosed price, would bolster its integrated analytics platform for end-to-end value-based contract design, payments reconciliation, clinical performance assessment, and reporting.

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