Article Blog - Suresh August 7, 2014 3 minute read

Big Data Takes Industries to New Heights

By Suresh Katta, Founder and CEO, Saama Technologies

I am just back from a whirlwind trip to Europe where I was fortunate enough to meet with a number of Fortune customers and prospective customers that shared with me some of the fascinating ways they are either using or plan to use their data.  Here are a few of the ways data science and analytics are being put to work, perhaps they will inspire you like they inspired me.

A large pharmaceutical customer has given Saama its real-world evidence-(RWE) related dataset — including patient-level Electronic Medical Records data and medical claims data, – to conduct “disease pathway” analytics.  The outcome will be a better understanding of the correlation between lifespan, quality of life and the different pathways in the current multiline therapy regimen used today in managing chronic diseases.  Using a data science approach in the treatments for chronic diseases – like cancer or diabetes – data science driven analytics of these complex RWE datasets can help illuminate the most optimum therapy regimens and support clinical decision-making.  As a result we can predict what is likely to most help a patient, what likely will not work, and how long to try a particular therapy regimen or drug before giving up and moving on to something else.  Think of it, millions of past patient experiences can be instrumental in helping current and future patients to realize optimum outcomes.

An agribusiness involved in biotechnology and genomic research is working to improve throughput for farmers.  Using big data analytics, the company is striving to reach best plant potential through technology so that farmers can gain the most crops out of its seeds.  This is extremely important, as the world population continues to expand while farmland continues to decrease.  Through best-of-breed seed makeup and understanding soils, climate, weather patterns, etc. for a particular area, data science can provide insights into which seed type and how best to use natural resources, like water and soil, to produce the healthiest and most abundant crop possible.

Another company I visited had a mind-boggling display in its boardroom showing patient chatter in the world of social media.  An immense touch-screen was available that provided big data results that could be queried, expanded or pushed away.  You could select a drug and see who was saying what about it (positive or negative) and in what part of the world.  You could drill down or pull back in your query, zooming in and out depending on what you want to know.  This is a great example of big data at work and how evolved the practice has become, and how immediately the data can be at your fingertips.  Gone are the days of needing to wait months and months for complex data sets to be analyzed and reports to be made available.

To some people, big data science and analytics might seem to be just popular buzzwords of the day, but when creatively put to work data can take an organization to new heights, like those noted here that are working towards better informed healthcare decisions, and offering greater food security for the world’s population.  These are game-changing times and it is exciting to hear and help develop what companies are doing with the possibilities.

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