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Realising the value of data in healthcare – TechToday

Klaus Boehncke, global digital health lead; Andre Valente, partner European Healthcare and Life Sciences practice; Jonathan Sparey, senior partner, European Healthcare Services practice; and Guillaume Duparc, partner, healthcare – L.E.K. Consulting, explore the implications of launching data-led offerings for healthcare providers, as well as the key challenges with data use.

In recent years, the healthcare industry has witnessed a significant growth in data volume compared to other sectors like manufacturing, financial services, media, and entertainment. By some estimates it now accounts for approximately 30% of the world’s data volume, with an expected annual growth of 36%, by 2025. Alongside the growing availability of data, there is also an increased demand for its use. Healthcare data can be valuable for medical research purposes and pharmaceutical development, as well as the refinement of new artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, and the operational improvement of healthcare providers.

What are the implications of this growth for data providers?

Launching data-driven healthcare offerings can present some advantages for healthcare providers, including the potential for a profitable new business area. These offerings can also be a catalyst for accelerated innovation in the healthcare sector, driving advancements in drug discovery, medtech, AI development, and also leading to improved patient outcomes in the medium to long term.

Additionally, the surge in healthcare data brings the promise of enhanced operational productivity and efficiency for healthcare providers, opening new revenue streams for both data contributors and users. Organisations sharing data now have the opportunity to charge fees for access to their data sets and associated services. A recent study conducted by L.E.K. Consulting among 200 healthcare executives, reveals the substantial variability in the price of patient records, ranging from approximately €50 for a simple episodic medical record to around €3,000 for a complex clinical dataset with detailed genomics information. Depending on the use case and the available data, these datasets can potentially lead to quicker drug or device development, and faster patient recruitment for clinical trials.

How to leverage the power of data

The demand for data-led offerings is large, provided the data pool is interesting enough. Harnessing this opportunity requires careful consideration and success in doing so ultimately hinges on choosing the right technology platform and route-to-market strategy. Healthcare providers have several options: direct to end-users, data intermediaries, or a mixed approach. For instance, while a direct-to end-users approach may yield higher prices per record, it also requires higher numbers of in-house data and sales teams. In contrast, the data intermediary approach offers a lower price per patient record, necessitating a smaller dataset and sales team, and a quicker launch.

Regardless of the chosen path, providers are recommended to invest in data expertise, technology platforms, and specialised teams for business development and data commercialisation. The appropriate route-to-market strategy must be carefully selected through analysis of implementation costs and monetisation profiles. Implementation costs are driven not only by the business development team, but also by a suitable data architecture that needs to be developed, a technology platform/provider that needs to be selected, and the day-to-day running of the business operations. 

The data set must be fit for purpose. 

Cruciallya data set must comply with privacy and security regulations and be completed and standardised to a format that is transferable across data originators and geographies.

Specifically, when dealing with large data sets, healthcare providers must always ensure compliance with the following criteria: patient consent, anonymisation and the regulations under the use of a federated or swarm access.

  • Patient consent: Consent can often be gained from patients with complex diseases where sharing information might lead to better future treatment outcomes. Depending on the type of consent given, pseudonymisation or anonymisation may be required.  
  • Anonymisation: Data is obfuscated or changed to make it impossible to trace back to any individual patient. This process reduces data value in certain use cases since there is information missing in the data set, but it is often still valid enough for certain types of research. 
  • Federated or swarm access: Allowing the data to be used without being transferred to a third party. Data does not leave the healthcare providers’ premises (or their cloud environment, where applicable) and the research algorithm or the analytics are deployed on the premises and ‘learn’ from the data there.

Key challenges with data use

While healthcare data applications encompass a wide range of uses, the data requirements often exhibit common patterns across various customers and use cases. End users frequently encounter three primary challenges when dealing with healthcare data:

  1. Data privacy and security: A significant 56% of respondents from the pharma and Clinical Research Organisations (CROs) sector highlighted the substantial challenge of ensuring data privacy and security. It is imperative to ascertain that data origination follows compliance standards and that proper anonymisation adhering to relevant norms and regulations is in place.
  2. Insufficient data quality and completeness: One of the critical concerns revolves around data sets with evident gaps or lacking essential details, which diminish their utility and reliability.
  3. Lack of standardisation and scope: Data sets with standardised inputs across different data originators and geographic regions are highly sought after, as they facilitate connections with other data sets. Furthermore, data users often express interest in opportunities for longitudinal tracking, such as linking outpatient and inpatient visits, as well as connecting imaging centres and laboratory results to create a more comprehensive patient overview.

Overall, venturing into data-driven offerings can open lucrative opportunities for healthcare providers. These offerings have the potential to expedite the development of new drugs, medtech solutions, and AI applications, ultimately leading to significant improvement in patient treatments and outcomes. With knowledge and careful planning, healthcare providers can position themselves to successfully launch and expand data-driven offerings that increase in value as new patient data continues to augment the existing foundation.



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Amit Ghosh
Amit Ghoshhttps://serpways.com
MYSELF AMIT GOSH. I AM A PROFESSIONAL BLOGGER AND RESEARCHER.
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