Organizations are starting to look beyond volume of data to quality

It’s no secret that approximately one-third of data produced each day is healthcare related. In fact, the healthcare industry has debated how to harness this overwhelming amount of information for years. Organizations are finally embracing data for decision-making, with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services requiring the use of data and analytics as part of its value-based care programs. Life sciences companies are harnessing real-world data for research and commercial decisions and both are wondering if they are using the “right” data.

Are organizations mining through data points and uncovering gold insights – those that are truly valuable to their care, treatment, research, or commercial decisions? Or, are they seeing shimmers that seem like the exact information they need, but upon further examination, it’s only pyrite–fool’s gold.

This is particularly true for organizations working with complex diseases, including oncology, or working to succeed with the latest clinical advancements such as precision medicine. Success in these areas is pivotal – the oncology precision medicine market alone is predicted to reach USD $1.25B with an 11% CAGR by 2030.

Unearthing the gold–and ensuring it’s 24 karat

Organizations that use data are taking steps in the right direction. However, as the industry evolves to focus on harnessing high-quality data sets, many are looking at the sources of the data, the relevance of the information, and its completeness – or its ability to be compiled into complete, longitudinal patient journeys.

Let’s take oncology, one of the highest cost, complex, and competitive marketplaces. A few years ago, tapping a company’s own data or pulling insights from a single EMR was considered industry leading. However, today, many are looking for data sets that:

  • Feature clinical and claims data: While many organizations tout data sets with an impressive number of patient lives, it’s imperative that these counts include both types of information.
  • Derive data from a wide variety of sources: Data needs to include patient health information (PHI) from multiple EMR systems, but also sociodemographic, genomic, lab, prescription, imaging, patient-reported, and death information.
  • Enable actions, not just intel: Data is only valuable when it’s put to work. This means that organizations must be able to access PHI-related insights in a secure and compliant way, but also leverage for all of their decisions, using a single source of truth for all of the questions they ask.

“Data is data, but it becomes valuable when it’s collated and crafted into a complete, longitudinal and expansive data set that can answer the questions organizations have, but also provide the context they need to make decisions for improved patient outcomes, costs, research, and commercial activities.” – Mr. Wiegert, Chief Operating Officer of Integra Connect

The company recently presented data at the American Society of Oncology meeting demonstrating how its oncology-specific data set helped generate evidence to support genomic testing in non-small cell lung cancer, which drove physician behavior change and then, improved patient outcomes.

“The use of data in healthcare has evolved significantly. Years ago, organizations focused on transforming data into information; now, it’s about turning those insights into knowledge that can be used at the point-of-care, lab, or board room,” continued Mr. Wiegert. “In my opinion, this means we need a complete data set that can be accessed quickly and across the industry— from clinicians, academic institutions and hospital system leaders to payers and life sciences organizations – as the ‘one source of truth’ for decisions, especially in areas like oncology.”

Playing by the rules

Data sources are still the wild, wild west in many regards. And, this means organizations often need to turn to a partner. To ensure you’re panning for actual gold and not being sold pyrite, organizations – most often, life sciences – are turning to those that:

  • Prioritize data security and privacy
  • Have robust data governance processes, especially for unstructured data; you must have 100% trust in the security, availability, and integrity of your data sources
  • Feature data from disease-specific providers who understand the hyper-unique needs of a disease set or patient journey

There’s an old saying that organizations should focus on “quality vs. quantity,” but it’s becoming harder to know what is considered the “right” data, especially for companies focused on high-priority areas like precision-based medicine, value-based care, FDA approvals and success with alternative payment models. It’s not easy, but at the minimum, remember: gold is made of 79 different chemical components that are brought together in a specific way to bring value. Make sure your data is gold, and features the different components you need to make the decisions that bring value—to your research, clinical decisions or commercial activities.


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