What are some of the biggest cloud computing priorities for life science companies?

A new IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics report predicts that some of the largest life science companies need to cut $36 billion in operating costs through 2017. Cloud computing offers an attractive way to reduce costs and make it easier to transmit and receive information  But what areas are getting attention now and where do […]

A new IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics report predicts that some of the largest life science companies need to cut $36 billion in operating costs through 2017. Cloud computing offers an attractive way to reduce costs and make it easier to transmit and receive information  But what areas are getting attention now and where do the growth opportunities exist? A survey of 70 life science companies highlighted areas where they are tapping the cloud across departments to make multichannel marketing easier and for developing better care plans.

About 74 percent of respondents said they are looking to derive greater value from healthcare information that includes de-identified electronic medical records and other real-world data. The priorities are customer relationship management, social media and integrated multichannel marketing solutions.

Analytics: Although nearly all respondents or about 98 percent have analytic systems that tend to focus on retrospective analysis, the majority of respondents don’t yet have the ability to go beyond that. One main area with a lot of growth potential is predictive analysis capabilities, which are only used by 37 percent of respondents and tend to be delivered by alerts and triggers within applications. Another 28 percent said they had prescriptive analysis, which involves assessing optimal response to trends and recommending an action. IMS sees a lot of potential for these analytical tools to impact healthcare:

“As the mix of new medicines brought to market by pharmaceutical companies is skewing toward those with relatively small target patient populations, it is more important for analytic systems to help identify those patients and their physicians. This accelerates the improvement of health outcomes while also bringing more efficiency to the entire health system.”

Interoperability: About 85 percent of respondents said interoperability was a big priority. Cloud-based applications represent the most efficient way to get beyond that challenge by improving workflow speed, eliminating conflicting data interpretations across departments and reducing the cost of manual data hand-offs.

Collaboration between health systems: Hospital systems can pool data to tweak treatment algorithms and improve outcomes. Life sciences companies can’t benefit from this due to the lack of consistent formats and privacy standards among cloud-based service providers. Progress is being made to improve access to shared data sets in the cloud that can be used by multiple groups.