Sometimes crunching data is a matter of life or death
What do the fight against HIV/AIDS, the race to find donor organs and the effort to keep blood supplies flowing have in common with the daily struggles of big business?
Big business, nonprofits and health agencies all face the same challenges: limited resources, too much data, too little useful information, and a rapidly changing environment.
Just as SAS helps 92 of the top 100 companies on the FORTUNE Global 500® list save the bottom line, SAS helps organizations like the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), the UK National Health Service Blood and Transplant, and Canadian Blood Services save a much more precious resource – human life.
CLINTON HEALTH ACCESS INITIATIVE deploys SAS® in global HIV/AIDS fight
More than 90 percent of the 33 million people with HIV/AIDS live in economically depressed, developing nations. CHAI, founded by President William J. Clinton in 2002, negotiates lower drug prices, raises funds for treatment and works with governments in those countries.
“SAS lets us do complex math in real time or very quickly. There are things SAS does in minutes that take hours using other technology,’’ says Megan O’Brien, PhD, Research Director for CHAI’s Center for Strategic HIV Operations Research. Using SAS Analytics, CHAI:
- Creates and updates forecasts of anti-retroviral medicine demand, successfully encouraging generic suppliers to manufacture appropriate formulations of adult and pediatric AIDS medications with lower pricing.
- Creates and updates combination-therapy forecasts to streamline the malaria drug market.
- Generates drug demand forecasts used to negotiate lower prices with major manufacturers.
- Shares forecasts and models with the United Nations Program on AIDS and the World Health Organization.
- Develops treatment models together with health ministries globally to maximize limited resources.
NHS BLOOD AND TRANSPLANT optimizes resources and improves survival rates with SAS®
The big challenge facing the UK National Health Service (NHS) in transplantation is that demand for donor organs outstrips supply. In the UK, more than 7,000 patients are on waiting lists, while around 3,000 transplants are performed each year. For more than a decade, SAS data management and analytics have been helping increase chances of survival and improving quality of life for patients.
UK Transplant uses SAS for data extraction, manipulation and validation, and for in-depth analyses. “We chose SAS 14 years ago because it was the best survival analysis tool on the market,” says Professor Dave Collett, Director of Statistics and Audit. “SAS has kept pace with our needs, enabling us to fit complex models for patient survival time, for example.”
With lives at stake, the team only begins analyses when it's satisfied the data has been properly validated and corrected. This often involves looking at outliers revealed by SAS, following up queries with transplant units and cross-referencing data against other sources. The analysis itself is complex. “We often perform multifactorial analyses of what influences the survival of a patient and what factors influence waiting time for a transplant,” says Collett. Achieving the right balance is tricky. The aim is to get a close match between recipient and donor to ensure a high chance of survival, but that means certain patients, such as those with a particular blood group and tissue type, may be put at a disadvantage.
Collett concludes, “SAS is fundamental to our work in optimizing the use of very limited resources. Indeed, SAS helps us increase the chances of survival and improve quality of life for hundreds of patients every year.”
CANADIAN BLOOD SERVICES uses SAS® to keep safe blood supply flowing
With demand for blood growing at 2 percent annually, Canadian Blood Services, a not-for-profit charitable organization mandated with managing the blood supply in Canada, must retain and grow its donor base to meet the increasing need.
The organization has finite resources and needs to get the best return possible on each of its initiatives, so it turned to SAS to help explore, target and execute donor recruitment campaigns and evaluate their success.
“We’ve been using SAS extensively to profile and understand our donor base. We’re able to combine information from a variety of sources for analysis and segmentation, and we’ve created predictive models to help us understand who best to target for campaigns,” says Anthony Steed, Director of Market Knowledge. Steed’s team is able to track and evaluate the results, and can drill down into the data to understand the attributes of donors who responded to a particular campaign and how well it performed versus a control group.
“SAS has given us the capability to fine-tune our approach within our strict budgetary constraints. Not only have we met our targets, but donor satisfaction is very high, and in benchmarks against other blood services organizations, we rank as one of the leaders.”