The potential of digital transformation is being realized across industries. In healthcare, advanced analytics has streamlined processes, sped up research and promises to drive better health outcomes. But advanced analytics are nothing without data, and unless you can break down data siloes across the enterprise and merge critical data into a single source of truth (otherwise known as master data management, or MDM), then your data will be insufficient to drive this kind of transformation.
I recently participated in a panel discussion for Informatica World 2019 with representatives from Intermountain Health and The American Cancer Society. We discussed MDM’s role in healthcare as a driver of digital transformation.
After reflecting on the conversation, I took three things away from the event:
- Patient and customer centricity is a major MDM-focus across healthcare. While digital transformation and advanced analytics provide benefits along the entire product life cycle, my co-panelists and I described programs that were primarily motivated by a need for better consumer and customer experiences. The rise of organized customers and the need to better orchestrate interactions in B2B settings between the field (reps or KAMs) and customers (HCPs, big multi-layer health systems and payers) is mission critical for pharma. My co-panelists had similar patient- and volunteer- centric needs for 360-views and better experiences for the people at the center of their activities.
- We’re all driving toward “data-driven,” but at different paces. No one on the panel was willing to make a blanket claim that their industry or organization was completely data driven. Each of us described various stages of evolution. For my part, I work with pharmaceutical companies that fall along a spectrum of digital transformation, from those that work with siloed data on multiple systems tucked away in disconnected processes across the organization, to those that run intelligent MDM operations that enable advanced and predictive analytics. My co-panelists described their businesses as either partly data-driven, or not yet data-driven.
- Leadership buy-in is critical. Getting your company to buy into an MDM vision is challenging but implementing a shift in the way a company gathers, stores and accesses data can present an even bigger obstacle. One panelist described his adoption challenge as combating his coworkers’ “change fatigue.” Another of my co-panelists described coworkers who had been processing data the same way for 20 or 30 years, which meant learning a new system caused significant disruption. Everyone on the panel agreed on the importance of executive sponsorship from the business side as a way of helping to keep MDM projects on track. Leadership buy-in is something that needs to be maintained as MDM projects require significant investment in time and money. Keeping business leadership engaged in the vision is just as important at the outset of a project as it is during the long, hard slog of implementation. That’s why unrelenting executive sponsorship of business leaders from inception to adoption is critical.
Healthcare has always been behind the curve when it comes to digital transformation, but there are many companies that have become industry leaders in data-driven business practices. Those that are just beginning their journey and those that are more advanced will still face adoption challenges. For the foreseeable future, customer and patient-centricity will remain a primary driver for MDM. While each organization is moving toward a data-driven future at different paces, the healthcare industry buys into the same general vision and the future is intelligence- and insight-based MDM and the advanced analytics it will enable.
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