Kara’s Data Culture

Our first piece in our “Data at Kara” blog series
Data Science

The team at Kara Health is aligned around 6 guiding values:

  • Use data effectively
  • Use ‘first principles’ thinking
  • Provide excellent clinical care
  • Innovate where it moves the needle
  • Be a meritocracy
  • Be empathetic

These values help us execute on our mission to deliver excellent clinical care and be invaluable to our partners. This post focuses on the first of our six core values, “use data effectively.”

What does it mean to “use data effectively?”

Data has been a part of Kara’s company fabric since day 1. Data informs each and every decision we make at Kara. While empathy, excellence in clinical care, and each of the other 6 fundamentals come into play, data is always present.

Through a series of experimentation, trial and error we have begun building a framework to guide how we use data to make decisions. This framework is comprised of the following three pillars:

  • Simplicity
  • Auditability
  • Visibility

We’ll introduce these pillars in the following sections:


At Kara Health, data simplicity means that everyone is empowered to use, improve and leverage our data — not just a data science team. As a company we strive to create simple datasets that are easily understood, queryable and make their expectations explicit.

We prefer to visualize our data with numbers and tables instead of pie charts, histograms and other more complex visualizations. For each data set we track where the data came from (its data lineage) and how up to date the data is. By setting explicit expectations around data, we have been able to reduce the amount of “tribal knowledge” required to use it. This allows our data to be equally accessible and useful to more people.

Data simplicity is embodied in the tools we’re using — we rely heavily on daily email reports and tv dashboards throughout our office. This data is made available to anyone in our company who wishes to subscribe to our email reports.


At Kara Health we are constantly working to increase visibility across all aspects of our operations. We define visibility as operational data that lets us understand how each of our teams are doing.

Visibility, operational data, helps us understand things such as:

  • The speed of execution on clinical interventions from the moment of recognized need
  • How to optimize clinician-patient appointments for traffic, drive times, and location
  • Why some patients go to the hospital without our knowledge
  • How frequently we need to see our patients
  • Which data, and which responses, keep patients out of the hospital

Our culture around visibility shapes the way we operate — when we are rolling out new processes we are constantly asking questions related to data. It’s common to hear us asking “how can we measure this?” We believe the best way to improve operations is to measure and iterate!

Operational visibility guides our team daily on where to invest in operational improvements.


Trust is important in healthcare. Our patients and partners trust us to make good decisions and provide excellent care and savings for them. To fulfill this mission, everyone must trust our data.

The foundation of this trust lies in the Kara Health culture of constantly questioning and auditing our data. We need to make sure that 100% of the decisions we make with data are using accurate, fresh and trustworthy data. It’s just as important to know data is inaccurate as it is to know it’s fully trustworthy.

We audit our data in many ways:

Data lineage:

  • Where did this data come from?
  • Were all sources accurate and fresh?

Automated reconciliation:

  • Automated double-checking
  • Automated accuracy alerts

Data dependencies:

  • What does this data set rely on?
  • And which set before that?

Human verification:

  • Has this data been verified by our team?
  • Which teams, who else?

What’s Next for Kara Health

At Kara Health, data is at the very core of our business. It is never stagnant, and neither are our methods of data usage. We’re continually evolving and improving how we use data.

Part of the story our data tells us is that we’ve made significant impact with a growing population of 30,000 patients. Patients who have seen a 35% reduction in insurance costs, and a 34% reduction in ER visits.

As we roll out a more formal data governance and tracking program across our company, we look forward to future data, signifying continued progress.

PS: Stay tuned and subscribe to hear more about our journey with data at