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The Data Decade

Data has been a hot topic in the health and digital health space for some time. We are now truly in the age of BIG data, which has become invaluable in helping organisations shape the future of healthcare. Data is no longer only an asset for the enterprise grade multi-national. In fact, as in Toothpick’s case, we have been able to collect the most comprehensive set of consumer and real-time dental data in the industry by monitoring our products over a 4-year period.

Questioning The Status Quo

We discovered very early on that the previous attempts to provide insight into our industry lacked accuracy and completeness – as the data simply did not exist. This has allowed us to question some commonly understood positions held by the profession and build solutions to meet the gap. Combining our own data with Open Data, we have been able to complete the most comprehensive view of our market, and now have the opportunity to disrupt through insight as well as technology.

A Resource Untapped

It is fair to say that commerce is still at the very early stages of utilising internal or external data assets. As an organisation we have been surprised that we are the only organisation asking for access to certain Open Data since publication. With the support for Open Data initiatives in the UK, access to bigger cloud based computing and data science talent, every SME should be working with data! As in the case our recent health data project Healthy Access, the data we found held a lot of potential by way of application building and value creation for users.

Operationalizing Insight

Insight needs to be folded into the mechanics of your business. With our newfound insight we have been able to optimise our sales activity, marketing activity and our operations to match. It has fundamentally changed both our model and outlook and empowers the whole team who know their work is based on solid, market leading analysis.

Success Stories

There are many success stories of efficiencies and incredible insight that has been achieved through data mining. Our partners at Mastodon C did an impressive data analysis on statins prescribed by family doctors in England, finding that the total drugs bill could have been £200m lower had all doctors prescribed cheaper drugs. Meanwhile rocket ship US company Palantir are intent on building the ‘world’s best user experience for working with data’, growing from a five person startup to helping governments and major corporations alike harness data.

How To Go About This Yourself 

Take data insight seriously as one of the most powerful tools available to your business. Look for support – we use some of the most renowned data scientists in the business, but you can get support from universities if you are not ready to recruit for full time roles. Do your research on what information and data is publicly available and get mining.

How Toothpick Uses Data Assets

The majority of decisions within Toothpick today are informed in some way by data. We found, as many before us have, that when looking to disrupt a market the data needed to do it does not exist. We have invested in ensuring we have the most comprehensive picture of dentistry in our target markets. We use a combination of internal data, market data, profiling and partner data to run projects on market opportunity, market sizing, product market fit with product suite, product penetration, customer profiling in B2B and B2C, product performance, sales targeting and forecasting.

Data In Action

While working on overall market sizing data sets, Toothpick decided to consumerise some of the health data information to make it more accessible. We wanted to turn inaccessible databases of really interesting information into a more usable and digestible format that would engage communities. Our ‘Healthy Access’ service was born out of this thinking and we welcome anyone to join the debate, share and use the widgets showing their local area or chosen data score.

So if you are in digital health or any other vertical that can benefit from data insight – come on and join us to embrace the Data Revolution. Data lives and can be changed so lets use this improving science to make a difference.

Oh and don’t forget to visit the dentist for a check up!

Jozef Wallis is co-founder and SVP of Toothpick.com, a serial entrepreneur and business developer for large corporations in the UK and US.