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Abhishek Mittal
Abhishek Mittal

Principal Architect - Data Engineering & Analytics

Preety Sharma
Preety Sharma

Director, Solutions Delivery - Life Sciences & Healthcare


Interoperability - the process of enabling seamless data exchange between different systems maximizes data effectiveness and potential. It ensures patient-centred care and collaborative communication among healthcare providers in the life sciences and healthcare context, driving innovative and data-driven healthcare solutions. 

Interoperability eliminates data silos and ensures that the data is not only shared across stakeholders but also promptly accessible and actionable for all relevant systems and healthcare professionals. However, despite its significant benefits, life sciences and healthcare organizations are struggling to achieve interoperability due to the lack of a standardized and well-structured method for information exchange. 

This blog explains why interoperability is a strategic advantage for healthcare organizations and offers a tactical approach to leverage Snowflake's Healthcare & Life Sciences Data Cloud for swift data sharing, consistency, and accuracy.  

What's more? We share insights from our recent interoperability project with a leading global organization and how Snowflake unlocked several business benefits for them!

Data exchange standards  Regulatory initiatives  Security and privacy concerns Health information exchange (HIE)  Electronic health records (Interoperability) Stakeholder collaboration
Variations in data formats and structures can hinder effective data exchange, limiting access to research and the scope of collaboration and innovation in the life sciences and healthcare sector. Regulatory compliance sometimes restricts innovation as organizations focus on meeting specific standards, potentially hindering the adoption of more advanced interoperability solutions.  Balancing the usability of interoperable systems with stringent security measures as enhanced security protocols may sometimes introduce complexities in the user experience. Ensuring the accuracy and consistency of patient data across organizations is important, as variations in data entry practices and standards can hinder effective health information exchange. Establishing common data elements and standardized formats across various EHR systems is a challenge, impacting the efficiency and comprehensiveness of health data exchange.

Collective endeavours foster shared standards and practices. However, resistance from individuals and institutions to shared standards and practices can impede progress, requiring strategic measures.

Table 1: Challenges in Interoperability

Leveraging Snowflake to address challenges in interoperability  

Snowflake's Healthcare & Life Sciences Data Cloud, a cloud-based data warehousing platform, addresses the interoperability challenges in healthcare in the following ways:

Unified data platform: It is a unified, cross-cloud data platform tailored to the healthcare industry, dismantling technical and institutional data silos. It enables healthcare organizations to securely centralize, integrate, and scale the exchange of crucial and sensitive patient data.

Interoperable ecosystem: It enables organizations to navigate the intricate data architectures within healthcare sectors, promotes enhanced health outcomes and cost-efficiency, and upholds data governance and privacy standards.

Agile solution: It swiftly adapts to evolving healthcare demands, breaks down silos, prioritizes user-centric design and ensures seamless data exchange while maintaining robust security, governance, and compliance with industry regulations.

Real-time data access: Snowflake Healthcare & Life Sciences Data Cloud enables real-time access and seamless sharing of vital patient information among diverse healthcare providers. It transcends technological and cloud platform barriers, fostering a collaborative and responsive healthcare ecosystem.

Data security and governance: Snowflake ensures patient data's accuracy, completeness, and easy shareability within the healthcare realm. Upholding the highest data governance and privacy standards, it is a guardian of healthcare information in an increasingly interconnected landscape.

Supply chain optimization: It proactively manages supply chain risks, offering a unified platform that effortlessly integrates with healthcare workflows. This platform generates swift insights into material availability and overall supply chain robustness.

For instance, in a real-world scenario, Snowflake's supply chain optimization capabilities empower healthcare organizations to swiftly identify and address fluctuations in medical equipment demand, ensuring timely availability and bolstering overall supply chain resilience.

Unlocking AI/ML potential: Snowflake unlocks the transformative potential of AI and Machine Learning, providing a robust and scalable data platform. This empowers healthcare organizations to harness the power of advanced analytics for personalized care, superior patient outcomes, and fortified data governance in the ever-evolving healthcare landscape.

For instance, within Snowflake's Healthcare and Life Sciences Data Cloud, AI and Machine Learning unlock possibilities such as predictive analytics for disease prevention, allowing healthcare providers to tailor interventions, enhance patient outcomes, and strengthen data governance within the dynamic healthcare environment.

Collaborative research and data sharing: Snowflake facilitates collaborative research initiatives by providing a secure and centralized data-sharing platform for researchers and institutions. This collaborative approach helps accelerate medical research, leading to breakthroughs and advancements in healthcare.

Providing essential data management, analytics, and collaboration capabilities within healthcare settings solves interoperability challenges and enables solutions beyond interoperability.

How a leading life sciences organization leveraged Snowflake for interoperability?

Nagarro's life sciences and healthcare team collaborated with several healthcare companies on various interoperability initiatives, giving us valuable insights into the complexities and best practices of interoperability. 

Recently, we worked with a leading medical institution with facilities spread across different regions. They aimed to overcome interoperability challenges like data silos, fragmented communication, and inconsistent health data with varying patient information. 

They wanted to streamline patient care coordination and operational workflows and improve healthcare outcomes. Additionally, they wanted to maintain the exchange of information across different healthcare systems while ensuring that evolving regulations and varying technological infrastructure did not impact the unpredictability of health data exchange.

The solution: leveraging Snowflake features

Here's an in-depth exploration of how we aligned healthcare data management principles with Snowflake's features to tackle the following factors:

Healthcare interoperability: We used Snowflake's native data platform as the foundation for robust healthcare interoperability. The platform effectively modelled and stored data from diverse healthcare sources, including Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems, laboratory databases, patient management systems, and other internal databases.  

This provided a unified and accurate information source and ensured healthcare data accessibility and consistency across the entire network. It was similar to establishing real-time interoperability, enabling seamless information exchange and informed decision-making throughout the healthcare domain.

Enhancing Interoperability in healthcare operations: We harnessed Snowpark, an innovative development environment, to augment capabilities for healthcare interoperability. This empowered us to write and execute code directly within the Snowflake platform, seamlessly enabling advanced data transformations and task management. 

Snowpark streamlined data processing efficiency and introduced a layer of agility to healthcare operations. This flexibility empowered the client to swiftly adapt to evolving regulations, changing technological landscapes, and dynamic healthcare data requirements.

Real-time responsiveness in healthcare data exchange: The team utilized Snowflake's Snowpipe, a real-time tracking system in healthcare, to update healthcare data and ensure it is available in near real-time. Snowpipe also enabled both batch and near real-time data ingestion and processing. 

Data from various internal healthcare systems and external sources, such as patient monitoring devices and external health databases, was constantly and automatically fed into the Snowflake platform. 

The platform mirrored the real-time tracking of patient information and healthcare workflows. Integrating real-time data was instrumental in ensuring swift responses to patient needs, regulatory changes, and critical events that required immediate attention.

Informed decision-making in healthcare with advanced analytics: We leveraged Snowflake's support for SQL queries and seamless integration with business intelligence tools like Microsoft Power BI for analytics and conducted in-depth analysis of historical healthcare data to uncover patterns.

The integration with Power BI facilitated the development of various analytical tools, such as a Patient Care & Resource Planning engine, Health Tracking system, Regulatory Compliance Reports, and Cost Analysis and Resource Allocation simulators. 

These tools paralleled the analytics-driven decision-making that optimizes patient care delivery and resource allocation. 

The solution leveraged Snowflake's full capabilities to address our client's interoperability challenges. From centralized data storage and real-time data exchange to advanced analytics and the creation of specialized tools, Snowflake played a pivotal role in improving data visibility, operational efficiency, and adaptive agility for this client across its various departments and multi-site institutes.

A transformation in Healthcare Interoperability

The Snowflake-powered solution positively impacted the operational workflows, data sharing, patient care coordination, and overall healthcare outcomes.

The client witnessed the following benefits: 

Enhanced cross-system visibility: This visibility extended from patient information exchange to internal processes, allowing for precise monitoring and tracking of healthcare data workflows. This increased visibility enabled swift identification and resolution of potential interoperability bottlenecks. Consequently, there was a remarkable 20% reduction in data exchange disruptions, significantly reducing delays and operational costs.

Improved data exchange accuracy: Integrating advanced analytics and specialized tools, such as the Interoperability Monitoring Engine, profoundly improved data exchange accuracy. 

A 15% increase in the precision of healthcare data exchange Across the entire healthcare network. A 12% reduction in data inconsistencies, reducing the risks associated with inaccurate patient records.  10% reduction in data accessibility challenges, ensuring a consistent flow of information to meet healthcare pprofessionals'needs.  A 5% increase in overall operational efficiency, as information was readily available to fulfil healthcare data requirements.

These improvements in data exchange management contributed to a 5% increase in overall operational efficiency, as information was readily available to fulfil healthcare data requirements.

Optimized data management: The centralized platform facilitated data-driven insights, enabling the client to optimize data management, reducing the costs associated with data inconsistencies by 15%. The risk of data accessibility challenges was reduced by 8%, which meant that healthcare processes ran more smoothly. 

Enhanced inter-system collaboration: The centralized platform led to a remarkable 25% enhancement in on-time data sharing between healthcare systems. Comprehensive data tracking at various levels, including accuracy, timeliness, security, and completeness, enabled timely corrective actions. 

This collaborative approach improved healthcare data efficiency and fostered stronger and more strategic collaborations between healthcare systems. As a result, operational costs were reduced by 10%, and overall stakeholder satisfaction increased significantly.

With Snowflake's capabilities, healthcare data management evolved from a challenge to a strategic asset. It contributed to cost reductions and increased patient satisfaction, helping our customers gain a competitive position within the healthcare industry.

Data-driven healthcare with Snowflake

The complex world of Healthcare Data Management poses tough challenges for healthcare organizations. Succeeding in this ever-changing environment requires innovation, flexibility, and a strategic mindset. 

Organizations must go beyond traditional methods to tackle these diverse challenges effectively. They need tools that adapt to the challenges and turn their data management into a competitive edge. 

Snowflake Data Platform provides healthcare organizations with the necessary tools to survive and thrive in this environment. It improves interoperability, agility, and efficiency across their networks, cementing their position as industry leaders.

Abhishek Mittal
Abhishek Mittal

Principal Architect - Data Engineering & Analytics

Preety Sharma
Preety Sharma

Director, Solutions Delivery - Life Sciences & Healthcare