6th May 2021

Harnessing the power of data: can reality catch up with ambition?

In brief

  • The pandemic has increased the imperative to develop data and analytics initiatives to protect vulnerable citizens.
  • System-level enablers such as a national data strategy, central funding and frameworks to improve data sharing need to be in place.
  • There are also key enablers at the organization level, such as defining purpose, building public trust in data use and obtaining staff buy-in.

Even before the pandemic, health and human services (HHS) providers recognized that digital technologies and reliable data are critical to improving services – from planning to delivery and commissioning – and ultimately meeting the needs of the sick and vulnerable. As Bernardo Mariano, CIO of the World Health Organization, observed: “The question is not if, but when. There should be no option to not go digital.”

COVID-19 has increased the urgency to make better use of data and analytics. But the pandemic has also catapulted many HHS organizations into the next stage of digital maturity.

A multicountry survey conducted as part of our report Embracing digital: is COVID-19 the catalyst for lasting change? found that 62% of organizations increased their use of digital technologies and data solutions during 2020. The survey highlighted several benefits, including improved user and staff experience, better access to care, increased staff productivity and more collaborative working across agencies. It also found a clear appetite to continue using technology post-pandemic.

With more HHS organizations having foundational technologies in place, health and social care systems can create data with ease, and more data than ever before will be collected by, and on behalf of, individuals. The focus must now turn to how to harness that data to provide insights that can truly transform how care is delivered and improve outcomes for patients and end users. However, the prospect of embarking on such a journey is daunting.

We believe that organizations can learn best from those that have gone before. With that in mind, we collaborated with Imperial College London’s Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI) to examine how a small group of pioneering organizations are successfully harnessing data to improve services and enhance the well-being of citizens.

The five organizations in our study are as follows:

  • In the UK, the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (LBBD) collaborated with EY and Xantura to create an analytics and predictive modeling platform called One View. It creates a single view of an at-risk household or individual to help enable intervention before crises occur.
  • In Canada, Cancer Care Ontario, now part of Ontario Health, collects Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) data to improve clinical response, engage patients in self-care and inform policy-making.
  • In the US state of Florida, Hillsborough County’s Family Preservation and Assessment System is a county-wide data-sharing platform in the child protection services sector. The tool, designed in collaboration with EY teams, targets early intervention to keep families together.
  • Also in the US, nonprofit health care provider Providence designed an analytics solution called DexCare that allows Providence to optimize provision by matching user demand and service availability of providers.
  • In Israel, Sheba Medical Center’s Big Data and Artificial Intelligence Innovation Hub provided a unified source of medical data and analytics. The hub enables the hospital to streamline processes, inform decision-making and improve care quality.

More information here.


Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic