In working with a number of cancer centers, we’ve recognized that they all struggle with one common problem when considering an enterprise data strategy or framework for enabling personalized medicine: “Where should we start?” While the question seems so basic, the answer eludes even the most well-intentioned and well-informed organizations. In beginning a project, a company must consider two successful approaches.
Two Successful Approaches:
① Start with an Enterprise Data Strategy to understand what the governance and organizational roadmap should look like across care settings and, for large health systems, across business entities…
- Then – as part of the strategy, identify one area or proof of concept, to start your data integration. One client of ours said, “Find a target rich environment” to integrate a small subset of data and demonstrate the value proposition of your strategy. The particular client chose surgery and we built a robust Surgical Analytics solution.
② Start with a proof of concept to demonstrate the value of integrating data. This will allow you to get buy in from other stakeholders in your organization and generate momentum for what is needed on a larger scale…
- Then – create and Enterprise Data Strategy that will bring similar value identified in the POC across the organization.
The approach you choose depends on the amount of buy-in there is within the organization among business, clinical, financial, and technical leaders. If there is hesitation or uncertainty as to the value of an enterprise data strategy or too many people are still saying, “We don’t really need one,” go with option #2 and show them they do.
One easy place to start for cancer centers to generate an easy win and clear value for the organization is integrating bio-specimen tissue repositories. Integrating the data from all the different bio-specimen banks that lie in disparate off-the-shelf software packages that come with the freezers the specimens are stored in is a clear and easy sell.
The primary objectives for integrating tissue repositories are as follows:
- To promote collaboration in research among scientific staff
- To attract new research opportunities with a quantified resource
- To provide accurate information for promoting external research opportunities
- To enhance standardization across repositories
- To enable the association of clinical data and specimens as an enterprise asset
- Able to stratify specimens with clinical data
- To reduce risk for policy deviations for the use of bio-specimens