The Next Era is Here

Today marks the 8th Annual SAS Health Care and Life Sciences Executive Conference, easily one of my most enjoyable events of the year. Earlier this week, I posted about what was going to be happening at the conference, and my next post will try and share some of the many things that happened. But this post is all about something different, something I’ve waited so long to talk about I could hardly stand it.  And today, I get to tell you!

It’s hard to believe it has been over 2 years ago since I started this blog. Back in that first blog post, I talked about risks: in creating some transparency between SAS and our customers, and in trying to merge healthcare, health plan, and life sciences concerns in one place:

The content might be too broad.  The content might be too controversial.  Anytime you put people from all three market segments together, there is a risk that politics and religions flair up.  If I suddenly stop writing, you’ll know I got fired.

Well, I didn’t get fired, and today I get the pleasure of announcing the next step in pursuing these goals: the formation of a SAS-sponsored think tank focused on industry convergence and analytically-derived innovation across health and life sciences: the Center for Health Analytics and Insights (CHAI).

I’m not going to tell you all of the things in the press release today – it speaks pretty clearly.  Here are some things not in the press release:

1.  CHAI is an organizational manifestation of convergence.  We built an organization of industry and analytical expertise that is not structured or measured on market segment-specific issues.  Rather, we’ve built an organization designed from the ground up to operate across market segments.  Think of it as a multi-disciplinary approach to analytical solutions: when we work on a problem space, team members from health plans, pharma, providers, and government all contribute.

2.  CHAI is about the future of industry insights: the promise of health analytics.  Before the marketing engines in every other vendor start spinning their views of health analytics, let me clearly articulate what it is.

Health analytics is the domain of advanced analytics focused on providing strategic insights into the inter-dependencies in health outcomes, profitability, and customer preferences and behaviors.  Health analytics target insights that support transformational programs and business growth opportunities, enabling organizations to improve medical care, strengthen financial performance, deepen customer relationships, and pursue medical innovations.

3.  CHAI is about collaboration.  I’ve been given a real gift – a charter to recruit a team of the best industry thinkers and analytical minds I can find.  I get to come to work every day and work with a group of people I truly respect, trust, and admire.  But SAS will not do this alone.  CHAI’s mission is to pursue these advanced analytical opportunities as collaborative initiatives with customers and partners.  So not only do I get to work with my own rock star team, I get to meet and work alongside other rock stars as well.  How cool is that?!

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve already met two people in CHAI: Sarah Rittman and David Handelsman.  You may have also noticed a press release on one of our projects, adaptive clinical trials.  You will meet more folks on the team soon, as I am opening this blog up to contributed posts from across my organization.  And you will hear from us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and some things I still can’t talk about yet, so stay tuned – this is gonna be fun!

I hope you can get a sense of my genuine excitement about CHAI.  When I started this blog over 2 years ago, no other software company had put a firm stake in the ground about convergence; SAS is truly unique in this multi-disciplinary approach to health innovations.  Who knows, it may all blow up and I may still get fired.  But maybe my new friends and I will have helped improve our health ecosystem just a little along the way.  That’s why many of us got into health care in the first place, right?

4 Trackbacks

  1. [...] The Next Era is Here [...]

  2. By Why health care needs analytics - SAS Voices on February 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    [...] particularly excited about health analytics after the SAS Health & Life Sciences Executive Conference last month. This issue will give you an idea of some hot topics that were discussed [...]

  3. [...] as former US Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle noted last week during the SAS Health Care and Life Sciences Executive Conference, it’s a debate that will continue for [...]

  4. [...] terms like “informatics.”  A few years ago, this terminology issue led me to explicitly define health analytics as a domain separately from health informatics and business [...]

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    Welcome to the SAS Health and Life Sciences blog. We explore how the health care ecosystem – providers, payers, pharmaceutical firms, regulators and consumers – can collaboratively use information and analytics to transform health quality, cost and outcomes.
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