Deerwalk Blog

Population Health Analytics Platform vs Reporting Application 

Posted by Tim Huke on February 01, 2018

Platform vs Application 2.jpgIn many fields, it is common to hear the terms "platform" and "application" tossed around interchangeably. The confusion is understandable because, for a non-technical person, platforms and applications can provide similar initial results. The two concepts are quite different, though, and it's important to understand which one your organization needs.

Only one use

Software, programs and applications all refer to essentially the same concept. They are the programs, usually accessed through a user interface (UI), that facilitate our work. Examples include desktop web browsers, mobile apps, and healthcare analytics software applications. If you are considering a vendor and the solution they offer is a user interface that works off of a database, that is an application.

Applications are created to solve one specific problem. The application you use will meet your needs if your problem is defined by and confined to that single use. Unfortunately, that is not often the case.

A full playground

When it is not, a platform is necessary to fully deal with the problem. A good way to think of a platform is as an infrastructure for multiple apps to be developed upon. A platform hosts multiple applications while also allowing you to adapt the applications according to your business needs. If you are considering a vendor that provides several ways (or applications) to access data off of the same data structure, you are looking at a platform.

Once, the definition of a "platform" from a user's perspective was fairly limited to hardware. When you purchased software, you needed to make sure that the program was specific to your platform of choice. (Are you a PC or a Mac?) Although hardware can be a platform, platforms are primarily defined as the software that runs the applications.

The important differences

A stand-alone application has a predefined scope. Of course, an application can be tweaked and modified to align with business goals at the testing and deployment stage, but for the most part, an application's parameters are locked in from that point on. On the other hand, platforms are designed to facilitate change. A platform enables evolution and response to scale and other changes in a business.

As a platform service provider, Deerwalk provides flexibility with its end-to-end population health analytics platform. Rather than providing a specifically targeted analytics application with a narrow focus, we provide a flexible platform ability to handle multiple problems any organization in the healthcare benefits delivery system might have.

Deerwalk Population Health Analytics Platform Graphic - TPA version.jpg

With Deerwalk's Population Health Analytics Platform, flexibility is built into every component. Our client's can use our sophisticated Plan Analytics and Reporting UI, a more basic Executive Analytics UI with extensive visualizations, create custom reports with Template Manager, run SQL queries against a database with enriched data in our healthcare data warehouse solution, or soon have the ability use a business intellience tool on the same data structure. In addition, we provide a Care Manager application for clinicians and a Health Portal for members that can be run on the platform. Lastly, you can build your own applications or integrate existing ones using our Deerwalk Analytic Service REST-based API - ultimate flexibility.

Deerwalk Solutions Image.jpg

Our platform is used by brokers, employers, payers, patients, and providers - all constituients in the healthcare ecosystem. In other words, a single source of truth (SSOT) off the same enriched data structure. That's a platform.

As technology has evolved, it has become increasingly difficult to comprehensively confront challenges. With a true platform service, health care organizations can stay right in step. Deerwalk's Population Health Analytics Platform can offer your business the agility it needs in today's rapidly changing environment.

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