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On cloud 9 about patient outcomes with Bruce Chen, EVP of Healthcare at Liaison

Accenture and Liaison Technologies are helping life sciences companies break through the barriers to cloud adoption.

Tell us about Liaison Technologies and your relationship with Accenture

Liaison Technologies was founded in 2000 with a clear vision to provide cloud based integration and data management solutions to help customers unlock the power of data in their business. With the explosive growth of electronic data, the diversity of data, and the fragmented data silos, organizations have encountered unprecedented complexity and challenges in data integration using traditional middleware products.

As a leader of Liaison Technologies’ Healthcare and Life Sciences verticals, I have the pleasure working with leaders and talent in Accenture’s Healthcare and Life Sciences practices on the following:

  • To create a partnership model with frictionless collaboration

  • To leverage the complementary strengths of both companies

  • To create the best solutions to serve our mutual customers and grow our businesses

What are your responsibilities as Executive Vice President of Healthcare?

As EVP of Healthcare at Liaison, my job and focus is to grow the healthcare and life sciences businesses by applying Liaison’s core competencies to provide the foundation to support the data driven transformation occurring in healthcare and life sciences.

What is it about technology and healthcare that you find most compelling?

Two aspects of daily life that consume the time, energy and attention of most people are financial and health-related activities. Financial life has been transformed over the past two decades with the advent of online banking, eCommerce, electronic tax filing, etc. But most people still phone their doctors for appointments, receive health information by postal mail, and depend to a great extent on information communicated verbally by their providers. We are just starting to see the beginnings of a transformation on the health side, and expect enormous change over the next few years in how individuals manage their health.

Do you believe the industry is struggling to manage the amount and complexity of all the data available?

Yes, particularly with the added burden of compliance and security requirements. Technology investments to date have been toward improving internal processes in an organization (hospital, practice, and lab). Even within this limited domain the data management challenges are very large. Sharing or communicating data between organizations and different vendor systems, while attempting to preserve the meaning of the data, is extremely complex. And with the increasing black-market value of personal health data, protecting data against targeted attacks is becoming more difficult.

What are the biggest barriers to entry into cloud-enabled data integration and management?

Cloud-based systems in healthcare will almost always be part of a hybrid on-premise/cloud architecture, needing to connect to and exchange data with non-cloud systems. This requires a very flexible and configurable communication network coupled with expertise in a range of legacy systems.

It is also very difficult to architect a cloud-based system with the required attributes around security, availability, disaster recovery, ability to integrate with other cloud-based systems, and elastic capacity.

How can these barriers be addressed?

Many in healthcare IT conflate “interoperability” with “support for data standards”, while in fact they are very different. Support for standards is helpful for reducing the “last mile” costs of connecting a variety of legacy systems, but system implementation and support costs still scale with the number of system endpoints. This was the major fallacy of the HIE initiatives over the past several years: standing up the central infrastructure isn’t the problem.

On the technology side, a significant investment in flexible data mapping and transformation tools, including natural language processing, is a requirement. This needs to be augmented with internal and external expertise in the architectures of the major vendor systems, and where possible collaborative development agreements with those vendors to help assure interoperability.

Bruce Chen

EVP of Healthcare at Liaison

"It is the combined merits of the cloud delivery model and a data driven approach that brings the greatest value to improving patient outcomes."

How will patient outcomes be improved as a result of cloud-enabled data integration and management?

A cloud based delivery model provides scale, efficiency, flexibility, and agility. It is the combined merits of the cloud delivery model and a data driven approach that brings the greatest value to improving patient outcomes. Clean and harmonized patient data with consistent semantic meaning, along with a cloud delivery model, will enable healthcare professionals to deliver quality care to patients at the right time and at the right place.