Orlando, Florida, was recently host to the eHealth Initiative Big Data conference. Tabbed “Leading IT Forward,” the conference brought together a variety of stakeholders to discuss issues related to data interoperability, analytics, and sharing of best practices.
What is meant when someone uses the term ‘Big Data’? Wikipedia states that Big Data:
is a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications. The challenges include capture, curation, storage, search, sharing, analysis, and visualization.
Big Data as it applies to patient health has its own set of challenges. The lack of interoperability between different EHR vendor platforms prevents a complete longitudinal view of the patient necessary to tell the full health story. Just think of the gap in EHR communication that exists between the outpatient and inpatient care delivery systems as one of many examples.
Was it coincidence that the stage was set in the same city roots from which the EPCOT center was born or does Big Data have a big play in spearheading the advancements of tomorrows innovations? What would Walt Disney say? Perhaps the challenge isn’t a question of technology but rather one that requires more collaboration among stakeholders.
Big Data in the World of Tomorrow
Andy Slavitt, Executive VP of Optum, helped set the stage by introducing Optum’s latest initiative called Optum Labs, an open innovation facility designed to attract a wide variety of stakeholders to collaborate and improve patient care.
Slavitt mentioned that “physicians feel the effort of technology is not worth the effort until intercompatible patient data exists,” alluding to the need for the hundreds of EHR systems to have the ability to communicate patient information back and forth.
In a discussion panel on use of technology to help patients manage chronic conditions, Dr. Tehseen Salimi, VP of Global Evidence and Value Development at Sanofi-Aventis, stated that “we (society) have done a good job at building silos…but we need more interoperability” to carry forward the advances of tomorrow.
Does solely extracting data paint the entire patient picture? In the same panel Dr. Geeta Nayyar, Chief Medical Information Officer at AT&T for Health, followed by stating that “isolated data numbers don’t mean a thing without the full story of the patient as well,” sharing the importance that subjective patient information plays for assessing a patient.
Has the stage been set to start de-siloing and start thinking more collaboratively in nature? Laura Adams, CEO of the Rhode Island Quality Institute, projected herself not as an executive, but as a patient who won her battle against breast cancer.
In her keynote address she stated that “crowdsourcing patient information is becoming more prominent than engaging patients in the delivery system,” emphasizing how patients are seeing more value educating one another on disease and treatment, compared with relying solely on what’s available through current care delivery workflows. After all, patients are becoming more engaged in their relationships, which is certainly a culture shift from the traditional methods of engagement.
How does this translate for Lilly COI and the clinical development space?
By removing the barriers for engaging externally and collaboratively, there’s an opportunity to develop the innovative medicines of tomorrow, faster, cheaper, and better. For instance, could the notion of clinical trial enrollment be improved if patients better understood the protocol documents?
What if these documents were crowdsourced by the patients themselves, as Laura put it? We look to help shape a new way of thinking and make demonstrable a cultural shift towards collaboration and openness in the clinical development space.
Stay tuned as we continue to embark upon this journey.