picture showing big data in the healthcare industry

Big Data in the Healthcare Industry: A Major Revolution

September 28th, 2017 - 0 Comments

How has big data impacted the healthcare sector and what challenges does it pose?

We are living in the midst of the information age. Digitization and accessing information from electronic databases is central to our way of life and a critical element of many thriving industries. Now more than ever, It is important to have clear information by making the huge volume of stored data usable, searchable and actionable.

The healthcare industry now has access to promising new threads of knowledge. This allows us as healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical consults to generate new insights and deliver improved member outcomes, quality of care, ability to track trends, and patterns from multiple sources. Such data also gives a greater scope to make better management decisions.

The growing importance of big data

Big data has been creating a buzz across the data management industry for the past few years. Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. About 90% of the data in the world today was created in the last two years. This data can be generated anywhere: shopping malls, pharmacies, hospitals, sensors used to gather climate information, posts on social media sites, digital pictures, videos, cell phone GPS signals, or at home.

From banking to retail, many sectors have already embraced big data. Traditionally, the healthcare industry lags behind others in using it, but the industry is now utilizing analytical capabilities to make better sense of the changing healthcare environment.

The evolution of big data provides an opportunity to the healthcare industry to achieve innovative insights to boost and expedite its development.

What are the main benefits of big data to the healthcare industry?

The main benefits of big data to the healthcare industry and to patient care are vast. Big data:

  • Helps government health agencies, experts, payers, and providers to make decisions about drug discovery, patient access, and marketing
  • Helps to develop actionable insights, organizes future visions, boosts outcomes, and reduces time to value
  • Builds better health profiles and predictive models for patients to better diagnose and treat diseases
  • Reduces escalating costs and its consequent shifts in providers’ reimbursement trends and clinical landscapes
  • Standardizes data for ease and agility. Electronic Medical Records (EMR) contain the standard (structured and unstructured) medical data that can be evaluated with the data analytic approach to predict patients at risk, and provide them with effective care
  • Helps in clinical innovations to determine affordable ways to diagnose and treat patients. In terms of regulatory affairs. Thus, new treatments can be efficiently introduced into the market
  • Attributes effective research and development methods for drugs and devices
  • Analyses clinical trials prior to a product (medicine or device) reaching the market
  • Focuses on personalized medicine, which is a young but rapidly advancing field of health care, informed by each person’s unique clinical, genetic, genomic, and environmental information
  • Helps to find and target the right people. The population served by a health plan consists of diverse groups of people along the health and wellness continuum
  • Has the potential to improve drug discovery and get the right treatments to the right patients at the right time — a particularly pressing concern in terms of market access
  • Manages fraudulence effectively

What challenges does the healthcare industry face in terms of big data?

If big data is to truly transform the pharmaceutical industry, the sector will face the following limitations and challenges:

  • To upgrade the skill sets from those sufficient to analyze relatively small amounts of clinical trial data to those required to gain insights from the vast amount of real world data, including unstructured data such as physicians’ notes, scans and images, and pathology reports.
  • To understand the biology of any disease is a rigorous task. It requires extensive application of big data to converge maximum information regarding multiple scales of the constituent of diseases like DNA, proteins, metabolites to cells, tissues, organs, organisms, and ecosystems. These scales need to be modeled by data integration, which is more predictive for given individuals.
  • The last three decades delineate the predominant medical challenges of our time, such as Alzheimer’s disease or cancer, which are prevalent with intricacies that require comprehensive and multi-modal studies.

In facing these challenges, the pharmaceutical industry is witnessing an era of the big data revolution, where data collation occurs on a scale beyond human comprehension. In an industry under pressure to contain costs and improve outcomes, big data is proving to be a valuable tool.

However, it is becoming clear that merely collecting large volumes of data will not be enough. The healthcare industry requires a reliable way to manage this sheer volume of information to drive smarter decisions about intervention and treatment options.

The healthcare industry is just now tapping into the full potential of real-world data, heading towards the reinforcement of research and development innovation, and efficiency. It could gradually turn the tide of success rates and stagnant pipelines by implementing technology-enabled ways to benefit from big data. Here at phamax, we are excited to see what the future of big data has to offer to healthcare.

Contact us

phamax is a scientific and analytical healthcare company that focusses on market access issues and concerns. To find out how we can help you with patient journey modelling, observational studies, and budget impact modelling, email us at info@phamax.ch.

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