Building a Smart Data Model


Travis Donia
Chief Technology Officer
Context Matters


Last summer, we used the term "Smart Data" to explain the opportunity we see for applying technology and information to strategic drug development decisions. At that time, there was a lot of hype around Big Data, and we made the distinction that the value for biopharma was not just in having high volumes of a variety of data with a frequent velocity, but in being able to make sense of the data.

This process is not easily done. The data has to be curated, analyzed, structured, and then data relationships have to be established. Data then has to be organized and presented in the right context for the types of decisions pharmaceutical professionals need to make. Pharmaceutical companies are constantly challenged to find the best way to integrate the concerns of global populations, while respecting all of the local laws, customs, and cultures that comprise them.

Want to go to market with a groundbreaking new drug?  

Your market access team suddenly needs to know and understand local evaluations for the therapeutic area you’re in.

Designing a clinical trial?

Your market access team is suddenly on the hook for understanding which endpoints will mean the most to the countries you need to demonstrate value to.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…


We solved the challenge of giving data meaning by creating the Context Matter Data Model to map the connections between data sources. By capturing the links between documents, we have harmonized these disparate data sources into more useful and actionable Smart Data.

For instance, in order to document the restrictions a health technology agency has placed on a drug, our team of analysts first has to build a history of the drug’s regulatory labels, identify and link the label active at the time of review, and then compare the regulatory and reimbursement indications to document any new restrictions.

And our Data Model is not static: the data team is constantly iterating on the taxonomy and adapting as new permutations emerge. It’s worth it though: this layer enables our data to be searched, shared, and charted in the service of our customers’ strategic questions.


Travis Donia is the Chief Technology Office at Context Matters. His mission is to help clients achieve an exceptional experience and deliver the ideal workflow in an intuitive user interface. He studied collaborative design at the Pratt Institute and brings that deliberate approach to integrating data and technology into new tools for the life sciences.