Behind the Innovation: MapLab
Our Chief Technology Officer, Laurent Bride, joined Komodo in 2021, at a time when the company was at an inflection point of growth and was gearing up for the next phase of technology innovation to accelerate access to healthcare insights. Fast forward to today, and Laurent’s major contribution to Komodo's success has been unveiled with the announcement of MapLab™ – the first all-in-one offering for healthcare and Life Sciences companies to generate insights into disease trends, treatment pathways, patient populations, and a host of other complex research questions.
We sat down with Laurent for a behind-the-scenes look at the innovation story of this new technology breakthrough, which promises to improve many of the long-standing pain points in the healthcare insights workflow. Here’s what we heard.
When you joined Komodo two-and-a-half years ago, you saw a big opportunity for technology to play an even bigger role in the company’s strategy. What was your vision, and how did that lead to MapLab?
Komodo had just come through a massive acceleration — driven in part by COVID-19 trends. That acceleration reinforced the company thesis that to truly bring insights to scale, the industry needed more than just data — it needed a major technology accelerator. And the company has built some incredible SaaS workflow solutions, putting dynamic, real-time insights into the hands of any user. That was almost unheard of in healthcare before Komodo — insights generation had always been manual.
I don’t come from the healthcare world, but I spent the past two decades at the cornerstone of data and analytics. When I looked at Komodo’s approach and early impact, my immediate reaction was: There is a huge opportunity to scale this into something bigger through an integrated, extensible, full-stack platform and a set of fit-for-purpose tools and applications. And I want the opportunity to build that.
On the path toward building MapLab over the past 18 months, you had the opportunity to speak with many Komodo customers. What did you learn in terms of their pain points?
I like to spend a lot of time with CIO, analytics leaders, and like-minded individuals, and we talk about their problems, how we can scale, and what the journey looks like to get there. From those conversations, it was clear to me that the healthcare insights workflow is full of pain points. I heard a lot of common themes from customers:
- Data is procured and licensed from various sources that are not connected.
- Ingesting, cleaning, and linking these sources is difficult and often runs on an expensive, unoptimized warehouse and convoluted infrastructure.
- Datasets, platforms, and software don't always talk to one another, creating silos that prevent innovation and insight generation.
- To address this, teams end up hiring expensive outside consultants who deliver inconsistent and unmaintainable analyses that end up buried on their hard drives. Significant investments are made to unlock these insights, only for them to gather dust on a shelf.
- Throughout the process, sharing and collaboration are very difficult and are not happening at scale.
- It takes weeks to answer questions — and answers are different every time.
Organizations cannot afford this much churn to solve day-to-day questions — the old piecemeal approach to generating insights simply doesn’t work.
How did you set about designing the architecture of MapLab as a solution to the industry’s insights workflow challenges?
We started by rethinking our entire platform approach and how it could best leverage Komodo’s unique asset, our Healthcare Map™. When you deal with petabytes of patient data, performance optimization of your platform query and analytical layers has to be front and center. Same goes for data access, discovery, governance and certification. At Komodo, we believe in ecosystem integration and enabling developers of all sorts to build on our platform, so a natural path for us was to engineer it with an API and SDK first approach. As a cloud-based SaaS solution, MapLab leverages all the modern SecOps, DevOps technology frameworks or Cloud services that technologists and IT leaders have come to expect for scale and automation.
You describe MapLab as the flagship offering at Komodo Health. How does MapLab differ from the existing software product suite? What makes it so powerful?
Komodo’s suite of enterprise software solutions supports specific users and use cases, such as understanding the seemingly disconnected signals that could indicate a rare disease patient who could be a candidate for a clinical trial.
MapLab delivers a unified environment to support an enterprise's full spectrum of analytics needs, with everything from out-of-the-box dashboard templates to a fully integrated development environment, all underpinned by Komodo’s platform and our Healthcare Map. What makes this so powerful is that MapLab automates common analytics needs and speeds time to insights into disease trends, treatment pathways, patient populations, and a host of other complex research questions. Now, any member of an organization can easily ask, answer, and share real-time insights.
Talk about the low-code vs. high-code experiences in MapLab. Why are these so important to our customers, and what is the benefit of including both in the same interface?
We’ve designed MapLab to cater to the needs of a broad spectrum of users and use cases. Our first module, available to clients in November 2023 is our no code/low code experience, MapView. This module provides an optimized, point-and-click solution for users who need rapid insights based on frequently asked questions — a brand manager who wants to measure the effectiveness of a marketing campaign, for example, or a Commercial team that needs to measure market share in different geographies or patient populations. We provide a comprehensive library of prescriptive dashboard templates, built by Komodo experts, that can transform a user from zero to hero in a matter of minutes.
Our high-code experience, MapKit, coming to market in 2024, is for more sophisticated users who require advanced capabilities such as deep data science and modeling and the ability to build custom data apps, data services and APIs. MapKit does the heavy lifting, providing access to elastic compute and storage, enabling secure access to our Healthcare Map and machine learning models, and empowering data scientists and engineers looking to build with high code on Komodo.
What’s important here is that both MapView and MapKit are part of MapLab, built on the same platform and powered by our Healthcare Map. Having this integrated back end not only “breaks silos” — which our clients said they need — fundamentally removes them from workflows. With MapLab, exchanging artifacts, standardizing and adjusting datasets and dashboards, collaboration, and iteration are seamless across the enterprise.
What’s it like being the CTO of a company like Komodo at a time when generative AI seems to be dominating almost every corner of the economy?
You can’t go anywhere without hearing about AI — and there was a time when AI was taboo; you couldn’t talk about it in the context of healthcare without it being labeled as hype. But AI isn’t new to Komodo, and here, it’s never been hype. We’ve been leveraging AI and ML for years to clean and standardize our Map or build our predictive alerts in Pulse.
My philosophy has always been to build an API-first technology stack. And that — combined with the high-quality foundation of patient data that Komodo has built — is what will allow Komodo to lead the way in delivering on the value of AI in healthcare. The real key is reliable, comprehensive, real-time patient data. And we are the only ones who have that data along with the technology tooling to bring the AI opportunity to life. We’re at the epicenter of a technology revolution in healthcare, and I’m inspired and excited about building what comes next.
When you think back on the innovation process to build MapLab, what are you most proud of?
What I'm most proud of is working with really bright people — Dragons with deep technical skills, industry experience, and a real understanding of the fundamental challenges and opportunities for technology. When I look at the achievement of MapLab — and the team that came together to work tirelessly over the last 18 months across three countries — I know I speak for all of us when I share my excitement and enthusiasm about how and where our clients will use MapLab to solve some of healthcare’s greatest challenges. I don't believe in technology for its own sake; I think that whatever we build needs to have a significant impact. And there is no better company for this than Komodo and no better solution than MapLab.
What’s next for MapLab? What should customers be looking forward to?
MapLab will continue to be a major focus for our teams in the next year. We have a pipeline of innovation coming — including solutions for specific Life Sciences teams, feature updates to improve and iterate on functionality, and new modules within MapLab, like MapKit and others, that will revolutionize the way teams generate, understand, and act on insights. We’ll be working closely on our end to ensure that everything we roll out will help to solve the challenges and opportunities we see in healthcare today. Komodo’s mission has always been to reduce the burden of disease, and I know that MapLab will only help unlock the insights and innovation for our customers to do exactly that.
Get more information about Komodo’s MapLab offering.