IQVIA is a global provider of advanced analytics, technology solutions, and contract research services to the life sciences industry. Formed through the merger of IMS Health and Quintiles, IQVIA helps companies improve clinical development and commercialization of new treatments, speed innovation, and accelerate research that leads to better healthcare outcomes.
Much work is being done worldwide to reduce healthcare costs, improve access to care, and deliver new treatments; but progress can be slow.
At IQVIA, executives are challenging the status quo using data and analytics.
“As a society, we’ve spent decades trying to make healthcare better, and you just have to turn on the TV to know it’s not working,” said Navdeep Alam, director, Global Data Warehouse at IQVIA. “We started asking what if we did things differently and began re-envisioning healthcare using a data-driven approach.”
To innovate, IQVIA staff needed to explore and iterate on data much more quickly. Yet, with data spread across 250 different data warehouses, including Oracle, Netezza, and Teradata systems, staff faced a variety of roadblocks. It took users days to copy data from silos into a single system for analysis. Even then, they often couldn’t perform the type of analytics they wanted due to performance and scalability restraints.
“Our legacy approach limited us from accomplishing greater things,” said Alam. “We focused on two objectives: bringing all the data together and bringing analytics to the data.”
IQVIA created a modern data platform on Cloudera that is empowering BI staff, data scientists, and statisticians to build creative new solutions that help reduce costs, bring new drugs to market faster, and improve patient outcomes. Users can conduct high-performance, self-service analytics, develop predictive algorithms using much larger datasets, and leverage anonymized comprehensive patient insights for deeper, more accurate insights.
“We have 70 different teams, with about 1,500 to 2,000 people, using the platform to do some very unique things with the data, from identifying next-generation clinical development strategies to building new algorithms to advance Alzheimer’s research,” said Alam.
The platform brings together more than two petabytes (PB) of data from the company’s 250 data warehouses worldwide and staff can incorporate new data types, such as social media data.
Additionally, IQVIA can bring analytics closer to the data for faster query performance. Already, users have conducted tens of hundreds of thousands of queries on the platform, using the BI tools they’re comfortable with. Data scientists can use R, Python or Scala in Cloudera Data Science Workbench to collaborate and accelerate on the development of new machine learning algorithms.
Because IQVIA staff often must draw from the same data for their work, the company sought to create a global multi-tenant data lake using a shared data experience for encryption, governance, and role-based access.
“With the help of Cloudera technologies, we built four data tenants—a U.S. data lake, a Spain data lake, a France data lake, and a Japan data lake,” said Alam. “Doing that all in one system and managing it globally and centrally has created enormous efficiencies for us.”
IQVIA plans to ultimately create a hybrid cloud environment that will let it securely deliver analytic services directly to its customers. “Cloudera Director will help us build sister tenants up in the public cloud to provide a meeting place for our data and the client's data when necessary,” said Alam.
Today, IQVIA can generate insights from data for its customers in seconds, rather than in days, weeks, and months. This massive boost in performance enables life sciences companies to innovate faster and save lives.
Consider the impact to new drug development lifecycles.
“Before, if a pharmaceutical company needed to decide which of two drugs to research because it didn’t have the budget to pursue both, it could take days, weeks, or months to evaluate potential market need depending on the complexity of the question,” said Alam. “Now, we can say in seconds, for example, that a million people could benefit from one drug and only 10,000 people from the other.”
Once drug development is underway, IQVIA analytics can help the company identify qualified patients for the clinical trial in seconds and minutes, rather than weeks or months. It’s also improved its ability to predict if a patient is eligible for a clinical before they’re symptomatic by four times to help patients gain access to clinical trials sooner.
“By identifying the right people up front faster, companies can reduce both drug costs and time to market so they can bring life-saving drugs to market faster and less expensively,” said Alam.