How Data and Analytics Inject Innovation into Health and Life Sciences

To meet increased demand, health and life science organizations are using data analytics to drive innovation.

Health and life science demonstrated its ability to innovate in the first years of the 2020s; the rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines saved countless lives and brought the lockdowns to an end, benefiting families, communities and nations. However, success is creating demand for further innovation from the health and life sciences sector. Health and life sciences organisations that are using data have become more innovative. 

Data creates innovation and improvements in all areas of the health and life sciences sector. These include:

  • The development and trialling of new treatments
  • The business processes of care providers and pharmaceutical firms 
  • The relationship the health and life sciences sector has with patients and customers. 

Alongside the demand for innovation, the health and life sciences sector is not immune from the need to lower costs and be more efficient, yet at the same time deliver an improved care experience to patients and partners. Business advisory firm McKinsey finds that businesses that have a mature data culture are best able to meet these demands. In its research, McKinsey found that data-led businesses are 23 times more likely to add new customers and nine times as likely to retain customers, which leads to revenue growth of 10%

As a result, the commercial and operational models of health and life sciences are changing to reflect the needs of patients and the healthcare sector. 

Patient Expectations Driving Innovation Through Data Analytics

Patients are leading the rise in demand from health and life science providers. Patients expect pharmaceutical and health providers to do more than provide the treatment; they expect services to be provided during and beyond the treatment to ensure that there is no relapse. 

As with many other areas of society, the consumerization of technology is impacting healthcare, which is beneficial to health and life science organizations as it enables remote care. The new field of digital therapeutics includes Apps for the self-management of treatments. 

The wearables sector is set to grow to $52.35 billion by 2030

With a change in patient expectations, health and life science organizations are modernizing their methods and operating models. Technology is being used to make clinical trials more effective and industry watchers report cost reductions of 35%. 

In the near future, health and life sciences providers will be able to offer personalized treatments using cell and gene medication. To provide personalized treatments, you need to really understand and analyze the data in order to serve the patient in a more effective way.

Data and innovation are also modernizing the processes of health and life science organizations. Tableau client, Humana, the U.S.’s major not-for-profit health services provider, carried out a data integration project that resolved 238 million patient cases that had previously been outstanding. 

For pharmaceutical companies, sales teams no longer make 10 to 12 visits a year to health providers. Another client of ours, Roche, a major Swiss pharmaceutical provider, is using data to innovate its sales operations and ensure that sales leaders listen to the needs of healthcare providers, delivering a more personalized outreach. Just as patients expect healthcare providers to deliver a personalized service, so must the supply-side providers. Analytics is core to this; without the data, you cannot make the change. You need to be able to understand how your market and your business is changing.

Data Integration the Key to Unlocking Innovation

Health and life sciences will not only use new data sources from wearables to drive innovation; the sector is traditionally rich in data. Within a hospital, for example, medical devices are collecting data and often adding it to a proprietary cloud service. Innovation leaders in health and life sciences need to bring a wide variety of data sources together, so that patient, pharmaceutical, medical, device and diagnostic data is all in one unified place. This will enable innovation to scale and use analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to generate insights, which in turn lead to innovation. 

Alexis Caron, Portfolio Manager at Sanofi, the pharmaceutical provider, spoke at the Tableau Healthcare Summit: “We had multiple sources for reports and analytics for the research portfolio. These sources required lots of coordination to put together a visualisation or an impactful report for the senior management,” he says of the barriers to insight and innovation that previously existed at Sanofi. The French pharmaceutical company worked with us to create a single source of information for research decision-making. 

Today Sanofi has the Research & Development Portfolio Dashboard, which provides analytics and insight to decision-makers across the entire range of innovation projects at Sanofi. “This means we have a microscopic vision of the R&D portfolio. Putting all the data in the correct format has improved ways of working,” he says of how innovation decisions are now based on data. Sanofi can now analyze its innovations according to clinical trials, project milestones and success rates. 

Innovation is at the heart of health and life sciences. To achieve the increased demand for innovation, health and life sciences organizations are adopting data-led practices to make faster, better decisions and drive down the cost of innovation. 


Key stats:

  • Data-led businesses are 23 times more likely to add new customers and nine times as likely to retain customers, which leads to revenue growth of 10%
  • The wearables sector is set to grow to $52.35 billion by 2030
  • Technology can make clinical trials more effective and is reported to reduce costs by 35%. 


To find out more about how Tableau is supporting innovation in healthcare and life sciences check out our latest webinar, download the whitepaper or go to our blog and read more about key trends in the industry.