Questions to Ask When Buying Healthcare Data

For those that work in healthcare strategy, marketing, business development, pre-commercialization, and product launch, getting fresh data to inform your work is a bit like opening up a wrapped gift. You’re excited and maybe nervous to discover what’s under the gift wrap, hoping you’ll like it. Healthcare data has the potential to transform strategies from intuition-based to evidence-based. But, the reality is: that purchasing data is often fraught with obstacles, including data visibility, turning what should be a clear decision into an inefficient, lengthy, and costly process. We’ve put together some fundamental questions about data to help improve the data purchase process - so you can get the results you need and make the most of your data purchasing investments. 

Begin with the end in mind

Different types of data and data elements support different business questions and applications. By starting with the end goal or application, you’re more likely to get the data needed. Ask yourself and your team, “how will the data be used, and what kind of data do I need?”

  • Longitudinal/Patient Journey
  • Physician Targeting
  • Patient Cohort and Targeting
  • Health Care Organization Targeting
  • Medically Administered Therapeutics
  • Market Dynamics Analysis (Geographic Regions or National)
  • Prescriptions Written 
  • Performance Tracking and Forecasting
  • Physician Liaison Activities
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Leakage

Dig a Little Deeper

Once you determine what the data will be used for, dig a little deeper into the data itself.

  • What data elements are critical?
  • How current is the data, and how often is it refreshed?
  • Does the data start out cleaned and standardized, or do we need to do this or hire someone to do this for us?
  • How much does the data cost?
  • How transparent is the data vendor about the data quality, and what data may be missing?
  • Does the data include Site of Care information?

Consider Data Use

When you feel comfortable with your application/use case and the data elements needed, think about how you will use that data.

  • Should I buy data just once, or do I need ongoing information?
  • Is it smarter and more cost effective to purchase an “all you can eat” national data model, or just purchase the geography or region I need?
  • What are the allowed uses of the data?
  • Do we own the data or “rent it”?  What happens after you use it for one-time use?  Do you need to destroy it or return it?
  • What Third-Party Agreements (TPA’s) may be required to utilize and share the data?

Ready for Analysis?

In addition to the data, you should ask other readiness questions about your technology and team.

  • Do we have a data platform for our analytics, or do we use a third party for analytics?
  • Do we have the resources to manage the data ourselves, or do we use a third party?
  • How easily can we join data sets?
  • Is the data already de-identified, or are we able to de-identify data, so we are HIPAA compliant?
  • Do we have a cloud-based system and data warehouse to ingest, clean and standardize data?

Make the Most of Your Data

The data landscape is changing. If you are a maverick looking to try new things, consider how you might execute your strategy differently if your data was available with these added benefits:

  • Affordable access to all therapy areas vs. a single therapeutic class. How would your segmentation change if you knew the amount of time  high value target practitioners spent in your therapy area?
  • Medical Claims with the site of care included on the transaction. Would this change how you think about physician to facility affiliations?

These suggestions are intended to help you make more informed data purchasing decisions - accelerating the time from data to insights to strategic impact.  If you have any questions or suggestions about new ways of thinking about data, we’d love to hear from you.

Questions to Ask When Buying Healthcare DataLinkedIn

Jeremy Ellis

Business Development
Jeremy leads the sales team and is responsible for sales, revenue generation, and customer relationship development. He is an accomplished sales executive who brings over a decade of experience at the intersection of healthcare and technology.
Questions to Ask When Buying Healthcare DataLinkedIn