Health / Pharma

Why do health organizations often fail to take full advantage of Big Data?

14th Jul `14, 11:32 PM in Health / Pharma

Big data offers breakthrough possibilities for new research and discoveries, better patient care, and greater efficiency in health…

BDMS
Guest Contributor
 

Big data offers breakthrough possibilities for new research and discoveries, better patient care, and greater efficiency in health and health care, as detailed in the July issue of Health Affairs. As with any new tool or technique, there is a learning curve.

Over the last few years, we, along with our colleagues at Booz Allen, have worked on over 30 big data projects with federal health agencies and other departments, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Federal Drug Administration (FDA), and the Veterans Administration (VA), along with private sector health organizations such as hospitals and delivery systems and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

While many of the lessons learned from these projects may be obvious, such as the need for disciplined project management, we also have seen organizations struggle with pitfalls and roadblocks that were unexpected in taking full advantage of big data’s potential.

Based on these experiences, here are some guidelines:

Acquire the “right” data for the project, even if it might be difficult to obtain.

We’ve found that many organizations, eager to get started on a big data project, often quickly gather and use the data that is the easiest to obtain, without considering whether it really goes to the heart of the specific health care problem they’re investigating. While this can speed up a project, the analytic results are likely to have only limited value.

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