Thursday, November 21, 2013

Life Science Leadership: Interviews with Speakers at the CED Life Science Conference 2014

Life Science Leadership is a CED interview series that provides insight into the ideas that will be discussed during the CED Life Science Conference 2014, and sheds light on an individual speaker’s perception of the sweeping changes affecting the health care industry.

This interview: Dr. Graham Hughes, Chief Medical Officer for SAS Center for Health Analytics and Insights

CED: Dr. Hughes, SAS has made a significant commitment to analytics for the health care industry. In what ways will SAS use this strength to lead change in the near future?

Dr. Hughes
:  At SAS, we’re proud of our heritage as the leading provider of advanced statistical and analytic software for health and life science researchers.  We continue to reinvest heavily to strengthen our core healthcare analytics platforms every year, whether in support of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, health insurers or healthcare provider organizations.

Recently, we have further increased our investment in identifying specific opportunities for innovative application of advanced analytics in healthcare, though the formation of a cross industry rapid cycle incubator team – the Center for Health Analytics & Insights (CHAI).   This team identifies and explores “big analytic swings” that have the potential to dramatically move the needle in healthcare over the coming years.

: Big data remains a big topic, especially for biotechnology and healthcare. How might analytics be used for new therapy development and the monitoring of healthcare outcomes?

Dr. Hughes
: SAS works closely with our customers to leverage big data and develop big insights.  For example, we have a project underway with a large academic cancer research organization to analyze large patient data sets to identify best practice patterns in real world care delivery.  Based on this research we can support personalized medicine, identifying highly targeted treatments with maximum impact on outcomes for patient sub-populations.  We’re applying similar techniques to help pharmaceutical companies, health insurers and healthcare delivery organizations pool ever-larger sets of data to better understand individual and population risks.  Another big data trend is to analyze streaming biometric data from wearable devices, coupling data with social media, web and HER to better anticipate patient needs, behaviors and response for targeted patient engagement strategies.

:  How will SAS measure success in this industry segment; what will that look-like in 2020?

Dr. Hughes
: In the end, SAS is successful if our customers are successful.  Our laser focus is on helping our customers deliver measurable business impact, both on their daily operations and for the patients they serve.  Health and Life Sciences companies are beginning to open up to the fact that success may well lie in having a more open approach to sharing data for the benefit of the patient.  Over the coming years, I believe that SAS can play a significant role in helping to support a level of patient level data transparency that respects the privacy of the individual while allowing for sophisticated analytic insights to be gained.  That would be good for patients, good for communities and good for the health of our nation.

A downloadable PDF of this interview can be found here.

Read more interviews and register for North Carolina’s leading life science conference, brought to you by CED, NCBIO, and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, at

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