TRANSLATING HEALTHCARE INSIGHTS INTO ACTION: THE POWER OF PASSION, PURPOSE, AND PEOPLE
By Publicis Health
Data and analytics are redefining how brands connect with consumers and shaping the future of advertising and media. At Publicis Health, we believe the future is already here and have prioritized data and analytics practices across our 18 brands. In Spring 2018, Publicis Health held its second annual Global Data and Analytics Summit in New York City. The summit brought together data and analytics practitioners from across Publicis Health and Publicis Groupe agencies for a day of professional development, sharing of best practices, and networking. To leverage the cross-functional, collaborative spirit of the summit, Verilogue, a Publicis Health insights agency, launched its first-ever Data and Analytics Challenge. The cross-industry competition asked teams to develop new methods to solve a formidable, real-life analytics problem.
Open to all Publicis Groupe employees worldwide, Verilogue’s D&A Challengeserved as an opportunity for developers, strategists, and data analysts from across the network to showcase their analytical and technical skills, while working toward a solution with tangible implications for clients. Angela Olivier, Director of Client Services at Verilogue, opened the Challenge by providing context for the uncommon data involved.
Verilogue works with physicians from around the globe to record live doctor-patient interactions in the exam room. Through the use of a smartphone application, and with explicit patient consent, doctors can record exam room conversations at the point-of-care, which are then de-identified, transcribed, and warehoused for linguistic analysis in Verilogue’s database. Through these verbatim doctor-patient conversations, Verilogue is able to analyze and understand how patients discuss their symptoms and conditions, the metaphors they use to describe them, and identify gaps in education. These insights then provide brand teams with opportunities to develop new resources and tools to support and improve the patient experience in the exam room.
“We live at the heart of conversations; nobody gets closer to the patient experience than we do,” said Angela Olivier, Director, Client Services, Verilogue. “But to translate those experiences into meaning, we have to add structure to conversational data using our linguistic expertise and highlight themes that will bring the patient’s unique story to life, at scale.”
TRANSLATING THE TEXT: THE CHALLENGE
This goal of adding structure and highlighting themes from the exam room with higher levels of efficiency — while maintaining accuracy — was the starting point of the Challenge.
The teams were provided with a dataset of more than 500 physician and patient conversations from Verilogue to use in their discovery and development process. Once they had the data in-hand, the Challenge teams worked outside of business hours to develop new algorithms and identify swifter methods of synthesizing data. This kind of ‘text analytics’ uses text mining and natural language processing algorithms to find meaning in massive amounts of text.
The eight-week, extracurricular sprint to the finish line was a complex one. Data rarely comes in structured formats, but in the case of Verilogue, the messiness of conversations and nuances of language and sentiment added a new layer to the complexity of data analysis.
In the end, the two teams left standing represented the New York and Boston offices of Digitas, a marketing agency within the media division of Publicis Groupe. While both teams provided valuable insights, ultimately the Boston Unicorns, a team name playing off the Digitas unicorn logo, identified a more effective solution for Verilogue to leverage in the future.
THE POWER OF PASSION
The fact the Challenge was open to agencies beyond Publicis Health added value to both Verilogue and Publicis Groupe. Verilogue was able to tap into new perspectives from analysts with diverse client backgrounds beyond health and wellness, including finance, consumer packaged goods, and travel. Conversely, the Challenge was a unique chance for the teams across Publicis Groupe to work with an unfamiliar dataset sourced from a new industry, with a new set of problems than they usually face.
The passion for data, in any form, came through when team members were questioned about their involvement. When asked why he chose to participate, Shashank Kapadia, senior data scientist at Digitas Boston and a member of the Boston Unicorns, explained his excitement, “I’m passionate about data, period. And this was a chance to work with a completely different dataset and my first time working with healthcare data.”
As all work was done outside of regular business hours, the Challenge became a passion project for many participants, fueled by a shared fervor for their field and a communal drive for reinvention and innovation.
THE POWER OF PURPOSE
The unifying nature of the Challenge was another selling point. Often, data and analytics practitioners work alone. Instead of working solo, the competition was an idiosyncratic opportunity to work with others toward a common goal.
One Digitas team member explained, “most client accounts only involve one data scientist, so part of the allure of the Challenge was the ability to work with a larger team, build upon one another’s ideas, and collaborate to solve a more significant problem.”
Historically, agencies only partnered on organizational projects within silos, but Publicis Groupe’s new “Power of One” model — and the core concept of the Challenge — leveraged the collective power of the network and talents of its people around a unifying purpose, no matter their individual agency affiliations.
THE POWER OF PEOPLE
“Innovation comes from a desire to look at other agencies—to other people—and open yourself up to a new way of approaching problems,” said Jamison Barnett, Chief Technology Officer at Verilogue. “The D&A Challenge confirmed the value of shedding silos and providing employees with unique and stimulating ways to grow by working across industries and datasets.”
According to Olivier, the D&A Challenge and accompanying concept of bringing people together from across agencies to troubleshoot, ideate, and innovate is more than a one-and-done event — it’s “an entirely new way of working.”
As Big Data continues to grow, so will the number of data and analytics professionals who work with it — and the companies of the future will be the ones that not only find creative ways to engage data, but creative ways to engage the people behind it.
Publicis Health is the world’s premier health-oriented agency network. A division of Publicis Groupe, Publicis Health manages top-tier agencies specializing in promoting innovative solutions in advertising, digital, branding, message delivery, market access, and medical communications. Publicis Health’s mission is to be the indispensable force for health and wellness business transformation through the alchemy of creativity and technology — for good.