Key Ingredients for Harnessing the Full Potential of Real-World Data


Verana Health

While the applications of real-world data (RWD) generated during health care delivery for informing regulatory decision making and for transforming clinical trials are growing exponentially, essential characteristics that leaders in the health technology field must have in order to maximize the impact of RWD for all possible use cases deserve further recognition and emphasis. 

The Fundamentals of Data Empathy 

A fundamental attribute needed to derive valuable insights from RWD, termed data empathy, has been recently acknowledged and highlighted. In this context, data empathy relates to the intangible combination of unique features, including:

  • Deep understanding of clinical documentation practices and billing processes that underlie how and why electronic health data are generated during health care delivery
  • Direct knowledge of the technology approaches used to transform raw source RWD, such as electronic health record (EHR) data, into fully curated, usable datasets
  • Experience with methods and processes used to maximize data quality.  

Achieving Forward Progress through Cross-Functional Collaboration 

Health technology leaders who have a high degree of data empathy have fostered this unique characteristic by working in cross-functional, team-based environments that include quantitative scientists, clinicians, engineers, and product developers who trust and value each other’s expertise, perspectives, and insights when working with RWD.  In this manner, data empathy can be developed through iterative experiences and by embracing teamwork.  

In addition to the estimable value of data empathy, curiosity and ingenuity are advantageous and complementary characteristics for health technology leaders.  As such, curious leaders know how and when to ask the right questions for the various use cases of RWD while ingenuous leaders figure out how to derive the most accurate and unbiased answers to the pivotal questions that are stimulated through curiosity.  Therefore, data empathy + curiosity + ingenuity are key ingredients for successful leaders who are driving technological innovation, product development, and quantitative methods evolution within health technology companies.  

As we scale our technology platform at Verana Health and increase the breadth and depth of the data sources we work with, in partnership with our medical professional society colleagues, we have been recruiting experienced medical, product, quantitative science, and engineering leaders from across the industry who have the innate characteristics previously described.  As these leaders join our team, we look forward to leveraging their data empathy, curiosity, and ingenuity to help guide our strategic initiatives and enhance the impact of our data-driven, technology-enabled research activities. 

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