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Medidata Helps Customers Improve Clinical Trials With Pentaho



Healthcare and Life sciences

Software as a Service


Intelligent Data Operations


Pentaho Data Integration

Pentaho Data Analytics

(Hitachi's Lumada portfolio products)



Effectively integrate data to improve clinical trial analysis.



Pentaho technology aggregates hundreds of data sources to enable smarter insights.


  • Supports a 30% faster release cycle.
  • Launches six times as many platform updates each year.
  • Enables smarter analysis of clinical data for customers.
  • Improves competitive advantage.

The Challenge: Integrate Clinical Trial Data From Hundreds of Sources

Artificial intelligence is transforming healthcare services. From disease prevention and diagnosis to making new observations and developing more personalized therapies, AI-powered insights can help doctors and healthcare professionals make smarter decisions.

"With Pentaho, we can go to market faster, more reliably and with lower maintenance costs. These capabilities boost our competitive advantage in an extremely fast-paced industry."

— Marie Panas, Senior Data Engineering Manager, Medidata

Medidata works with 18 of the world's top 25 pharmaceutical companies to help them leverage AI in clinical trials. "With our software-as-a-service platforms, our goal is to provide an 'architecture of hope' that enables organizations to save lives by launching vital new treatments faster," explains Senior Director at Medidata, Vince Marinelli.

The company's 850 customers include pharmaceutical, biotech, diagnostic and device firms, leading academic medical centers and contract research organizations. The Medidata Clinical Cloud helps these customers manage every aspect of clinical trial data, from design and drug supply to randomization and capturing patient data from handheld and wearable devices.

With hundreds of disparate and complex sources feeding into the Clinical Cloud platform, which is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Medidata needs an efficient method for aggregating and integrating data. "We had tried a number of technologies in the past, but hadn't come up with a solution that could cope effectively with the complexity of our data," says Medidata's Senior Data Engineering Manager, Marie Panas. "We needed a data integration solution that was reliable, highly configurable and scalable."

The Solution: A Simple and Consistent Approach to Aggregating Data

In 2015, Medidata's search led it to Hitachi Vantara's Pentaho products, part of Hitachi's Lumada portfolio. Following an extensive proof of concept in 2015, Medidata started implementing the Pentaho solutions in August 2016.

"In Pentaho, we finally found a technology that could cope with the level of complexity our data transformations require," comments Marinelli. "As it's open source, it's highly configurable. Crucially, it was also at the right price point so we can continue to make the Medidata Clinical Cloud affordable for our customers."

The Pentaho solution takes complex structured data from hundreds of sources and brings it together in the Medidata Clinical Cloud to provide a single, consistent view. This data might come from a doctor's notes on a handheld device, or from a healthcare wearable such as an Apple Watch or Fitbit. Medidata is currently aggregating data from more than 300 sources with Pentaho, but eventually this will increase to 1,500.

The solution's metadata injection function is key to Medidata's ability to add these new data sources quickly. Metadata injection enables the company to create generic re-usable templates that can easily be reconfigured in run time to extract, transform and load data from new sources. "With a consistent and simple approach, we've been able to maximize the agility and productivity of our engineers, achieving the same with fewer resources," explains Panas.

Pentaho's data profiling capabilities are also vitally important. "The success of the Medidata Clinical Cloud is dependent upon the quality of the data. With Pentaho, we can spot-check data issues early in the modeling process to avoid major problems later on," says Panas.

Over the last four years, Medidata has worked closely with a team of Hitachi Vantara architects and contractors to help it maximize its investment in the Pentaho technology. "Hitachi Vantara has been very responsive and helpful, but the relationship goes both ways," adds Panas. "As well as optimizing our processes here at Medidata, we're working with the development team at Hitachi Vantara to provide feedback and help extend the capabilities of the solution."

The Outcome: Help Customers Launch New Treatments Faster and Save Lives

With data integration powered by Pentaho technology, Medidata is able to provide its customers with a smarter, more powerful platform for managing clinical trials. "Our users can now analyze how their trials are running and compare them to previous research for additional insights that improve safety and efficiency," explains Marinelli.

For example, it's hard to recruit patients for placebo drugs in trials, and unethical in the case of serious illness. Thanks to the Medidata Clinical Cloud and Pentaho, users can now leverage data from previous trials to synthesize the control arm of their research, eliminating the need for placebos.

New capabilities such as these can be brought to market faster with the ability to integrate new data sources quickly. "The time taken to launch new features has decreased by around 30%, and we're able to release updates every two weeks rather than just four times a year," confirms Panas. "With Pentaho, we can go to market faster, more reliably and with lower maintenance costs. These capabilities boost our competitive advantage in an extremely fast-paced industry."

Thanks to the structure of the licensing agreement, Medidata can also easily scale its platform to accommodate new customers and cope with usage peaks with cost concerns. As a result, it can help more customers save lives by optimizing clinical trials and launching critical healthcare treatments faster.

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