Regulatory requirements drove new data quality projects in 2015


pill bottleIn 2014, big data was on everyone’s mind. So in 2015, I expected to see data quality initiatives make a major shift toward big data. But I was surprised by a completely new requirement for data quality, which proves that the world is not all about big data – not yet.

While banks have been asked to pay extra attention to data quality per BCBS 239 principles, a similar regulatory framework – called identification of medicinal products (IDMP) – is affecting the pharmaceutical industry. IDMP standardizes medicinal product data exchanged among regulators, worldwide data sources and pharmaceutical companies to uniquely identify these products for human use. IDMP requires all pharmaceutical companies to provide standardized, validated product data to the regulator. This puts data validation and data standardization right at the front line of IT projects at pharmaceutical companies all across Europe.

To meet the new IDMP regulatory requirements, pharma companies are suddenly rethinking their product data management processes and planning for data enhancements. This is certainly a good move, but product data management is company-specific by nature. Dosage forms, packaging, ingredients and product names are not standardized and are often in a company-specific nomenclature. IDMP introduces standard vocabulary and formats to describe medical products and to make product data globally compatible. This creates an interesting opportunity for data quality solutions that can quickly adapt to IDMP standards. Imagine the benefit for pharmaceutical companies that could quickly and intuitively plug data cleansing and standardization into their existing business processes.

BCBS 239 has already triggered adoption of data quality solutions by the banking industry. Based on 2015 industry trends and professional meetings, IDMP is likely to have the same effect on the pharmaceutical industry. It's clear that there's a new demand for data quality software. Data quality is still relevant for “small" data and is still not a commodity in all industries. Growth and globalization always have – and still do – generate new demands for data quality solutions.

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Now is the time for pharmaceutical companies to standardize product data and get ready for IDMP. It's no small challenge, especially considering the variability in product data from company to company and the fact that IDMP standards are continuing to mature. Data quality solutions that can rise to the challenge will have to be knowledgeable not only of vocabulary, phonetics and grammar specific to the pharmaceutical industry – they will also have to be flexible enough to adjust to evolving customer needs.

Few data quality solutions qualify as viable candidates to address IDMP requirements. SAS can help with its comprehensive data quality solution that standardizes any type of data. Built on a unified platform and adaptable to any data domain, SAS software can be quickly enhanced to support industry-specific data quality standards like IDMP. With SAS, pharmaceutical companies can implement automated, batch-oriented data quality processes and use workflow-driven data quality activities to enable collaboration between IT and business users.

Learn more about how SAS can help your business cross the IDMP data chasm.


About Author

Helmut Plinke

Principal Business Solutions Manager

Helmut Plinke acts as Principal Business Solutions Manager for SAS, focusing on data quality and data governance technologies. Helmut is an enthusiast of data quality technologies to improve fitness of data and thereby help businesses to improve efficiency and gain competitive advantages. In his current role Helmut supports customers in designing enterprise data management solutions based on SAS technology. He is a specialist in data quality and data integration technologies for a long time now and has been part of some of the major SAS data quality and data governance projects in DACH and the Netherlands recently. With over 15 years of experience across multiple industries Helmut has also gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in technologies like business intelligence, content management and enterprise application integration from his past roles with other companies. Helmut has published in IS Report and speaks about the topic of data management at SAS and public conferences sharing his project experience and knowledge.

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