Big Data — Getting Bigger for Life Sciences

Big data has been exploding in healthcare.  It is becoming a key basis of competition and is providing much-needed visibility into R&D for life sciences companies. Pharmaceuticals, biotech, and medical device companies are analyzing these large data sets. They look to find out their potential value for new drugs, conducting strategic clinical trials, and implementing personalized patient management strategies.

Health IT has provided the opportunity to collect data across the healthcare spectrum, triggering a meeting of the healthcare and the life-sciences industries. This will lead to more intimate and interactive relationships among patients, their physicians, and biopharma companies. IT tools to extract and analyze Big Data are providing insights to healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies on diseases, allowing them to improve patient outcomes for millions of people. But what exactly is Big Data? What does it mean to the healthcare industry?

What is Big Data

Big Data refers to the explosion of information which began emerging with the digitization of knowledge five decades ago. It is now doubling in size at an increasingly rapid clip.  It was initially fueled by the rapid growth of mainframes in the mid-20th century. More recently, it has been accelerated by networking, cloud computing, and the move to electronic health records systems (EHRS). Every patient‘s medical experience is now generating rivers of data which.

Big Data is big! If pooled intelligently, it can trace a detailed journey of a patient’s health history and medical challenges. When this data is collected and analyzed correctly, it provides:

  • a more robust understanding of disease states and the affected patient populations
  • a promise for finding more effective, targeted, “personalized” therapies in R&D
  • the potential for increasing market knowledge for demand management in the supply chain
  • the ability to uncover actionable insights about patients, HCPs patient management, drug safety and efficacy along with data drug prescribing trends for the growth and profitability for drug development

How Pharma Can Use Big Data

What can pharma companies do with this data?

  • Characterize diseases and patient populations by understanding epidemiological trends, treatment patterns, patient adherence, and disease management opportunities.
  • Develop new products and therapies by assessing the use of competitive products in the market, designing inclusion and exclusion criteria for clinical trials, performing predictive models on virtual trials, identifying patients for recruitment, and identifying unintended uses and indications.
  • Assess products and therapies already in use by observing drug safety, comparing product effectiveness, assessing health economics, and designing pay-for-performance criteria.
  • Target products and services by identifying underserved patient populations, high-cost areas for risk-based product pricing, subpopulations with superior product response, and tracking message effectiveness through prescribing behavior.
  • Target products for new indications allowing for growth in the therapeutic market.

All in all, Big Data is becoming a competitive driver and great opportunity that pharma companies will want to capitalize on in the future for Health IT.

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