NWU’s BMI Student Internship Programme Delivers Value For Intenda

Intenda became a proud supporter of the North-West University’s Centre for Business Mathematics and Informatics (BMI) Internship Programme when we welcomed our first two NWU BMI Student Internship students to complete their 6-month internships with us last year.

NWU BMI Student Internship candidates are tasked with solving a business problem for a company over a six month period, as part of their MSc degrees. As per the NWU website, “During this six months, the students are required to apply their knowledge and skills in solving a real problem for the company, under the joint supervision of both a BMI academic supervisor and an industry project officer. This is done with the dual requirement that value is added to the company as well as demonstrating the ability to conduct academic research commensurate with a masters level. This process is well-structured and managed according to a meticulously articulated methodology that has proven to be very popular in the industry. This process has several benefits, amongst others, that NWU BMI Student Internship students find work easily, and with the inputs from industry, the projects result in highly relevant research outcomes.”

NWU BMI Student Internship Programme Results

Both students achieved results than can only be described as outstanding, attaining distinctions for their MSc degrees as well as for the BMI projects they completed during their internships. In addition, both received Top Achiever certificates as runners-up for the best project in the entire NWU MSc class. We always have room for exceptional talent at Intenda, and were therefore pleased to welcome these NWU BMI Student Internship candidates onboard as full-time members of our team on completion of their internships. 

Below are brief synopses of the students’ respective BMI projects. If you’d like to read their mini-dissertations in full, use the buttons at the bottom of this page to download these in PDF form. 

Detecting fraud, waste and abuse by South African healthcare providers

Fraud, waste and abuse (FWA) is a significant concern in South Africa and various types of FWA involving medical scheme claims are regularly committed. My project aims to analyse data from South African medical schemes and to use the analysis to develop a set of metrics and a dynamic method that may be used to identify healthcare providers suspected of FWA. The submitted claims were assessed in the context of the provider’s healthcare discipline and claims categories. 

The set of metrics provides a profile of the healthcare provider’s claim behaviour that may be used to build a case motivating why a healthcare provider is suspected of FWA (or why not). 

The project’s methodology resulted in a dynamic method (or tool) that may be used by IFS to detect South African healthcare providers suspected of FWA, adding value, and enhancing Intenda Financial Services’ reporting services to its clients.

The solution developed by this NWU BMI Student Internship candidate during the project enables IFS clients to investigate claims submitted by the identified FWA healthcare providers to recover any losses incurred due to FWA.

Bridging the gap between generic and domain-specific data profiling

Data preparation remains a time-consuming facet of data analytics. A main contributor to the amount of effort and time spent on data preparation is the divide that exists between generic and domain-specific data profiling. My master’s project aimed to bridge this gap by developing a framework capable of supporting both generic and domain-specific data profiling, with specific focus on the financial domain. 

The framework has a layered architecture and is extensible and customisable, with the ability to generically and specifically profile data. To demonstrate this, metadata profiles were created to broadly classify data, detailed profiles to incorporate domain-specific and high-level generic classification, and financial domain profiles to identify domain-specific fields. The framework is designed to incorporate country-specific fields, and after classifying and profiling data fields, the profiles can be reverse engineered to identify complex invalid data values. The framework performed significantly better than a well-known competing tool in numerous benchmark measures. It correctly classified more data fields into broad and detailed-orientated categories and outperformed the competing tool in classifying domain-specific data fields.

Intenda recognises great value in the NWU BMI Student Internship Programme. As evidenced by the example of our first two BMI students, the Programme promises significant benefit, both to the students and the companies in which they complete their internships. We are currently assessing research project proposals for 2023, and looking forward to welcoming more NWU BMI Student Internship candidates to Intenda in the near future.

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