How can organizations be more resilient during an uncertain business and public health situation? Lessons learned from organizations at the front lines of crisis response reinforce the importance of good analytic governance. These leading organizations have shown us that the fundamentals of the analytic life cycle – data, discovery and deployment – can lead to some pretty amazing innovations just when we need it most.

Managing all aspects of the analytic life cycle is critical to operationalizing analytics that executives can trust for decision support. But all analytics start with data. Health organizations around the world have been investing in digital technology to provide the necessary data to fuel the analytics life cycle. The recent pandemic put new data management, analysis and automation processes to the test.

To get some perspective from leaders who have demonstrated resilience in the face of adversity, I recently tuned in to the health and life sciences track of the 2020 Virtual SAS Global Forum. Here are a few key learnings from these industry sessions.

Know your data

Have a process in place to capture, integrate and interpret data form all available data sources. Don’t sidestep data governance, and keep patient privacy at the center of design.

  • For example, Cleveland Clinic rapidly gathered data to create real time reports by region and facility with details down to the ICU beds and ventilators. This helped them anticipate potential shortages, manage capacity and determine staff allocation (see full story here).

Dig for clues to complex problems

Listening to others outside your organization can help discover new effective approaches to treatment. Don’t overlook the opportunity to apply text analytics to unstructured data.

  • Ryan McGarry shared that social media has been a huge help for on-the-ground insights. As a practicing emergency medical physician, he learned from peers that flipping patients to the prone position had better outcomes.

Utilize the power of our connected world

Collect clinically relevant data through the Internet of Medical Things and advanced virtual care applications.

  • Mark Wolff demonstrated how sensor-based telemetry of human motion can automate remote clinical assessments. In an age of increased network capacity and reduced in-person health visits, improving remote care is an important factor in patient experience and health outcomes.

Mitigate clinical research disruption with analytics

Life sciences companies are rapidly transforming how clinical trials are designed and managed as a result of the pandemic. Trusted clinical data is more important than ever to inform effective therapies and vaccines.

  • ICON shared how rigorous analysis of data helps life science companies monitor subject and site safety, ensure trial integrity, analyze risk, and meet expectations of regulators.

Reimagine marketing

A moment of great transformation in marketing is underway as we evolve from in-person connections to a digital first strategy.

  • In the session "Towards the horizon," Patrick Homer discusses how a commercial pharma uses analytics on web engagement data to gain insights on physicians' digital “body language” during educational webinars.

Be timely and transparent in executive communication

Clearly state what is known and what is unknown. Adapt and modify over time as needs change.

  • Cleveland Clinic shared visualizations built by their enterprise analytics team with predictive models based on multiple scenarios driven by the rate of infection and public policy. This helped them use history to guide future operational decisions during a re-opening phase of the hospital.

The content from this year’s virtual SAS Global Forum spanned several “seasons,” hosted in the first half of 2020. If you missed any content that I’ve highlighted above, it's now easy to access via the Industry Connection playlist for health and life sciences.

If recent history repeats itself, organizations that are doubling down on the analytics life cycle will be more resilient to future pandemic impacts. And SAS is no stranger to adapting during a crisis. For more information, please visit


About Author

Alyssa Farrell

Advisory Industry Marketing Manager, SAS

Alyssa Farrell leads industry marketing for the SAS Global Health and Life Sciences Practice. In this role, she focuses on the SAS solutions that help optimize health outcomes for individuals and their communities. Alyssa is actively engaged in analyst relations, market research and influencer marketing to stay on top of industry trends and align SAS capabilities to customer needs. She has also supported the global energy and public sector teams during her career at SAS. Prior to joining SAS in 2004, Alyssa was a senior consultant in the Deloitte Public Sector practice. She earned her MBA degree with a concentration in Management Information Systems from the University of Arizona. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Duke University. Follow Alyssa on Twitter @alyssa_farrell and LinkedIn at

Comments are closed.

Back to Top