Few need to be convinced that we live in a world today that is increasingly tracking, measuring and monitoring a broad spectrum of activities. This point was illustrated in a McKinsey report I read recently titled, "Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity". The introduction summarizes nicely why the amount of data is growing exponentially and how that can be a good thing for capturing value.
“The amount of data in our world has been exploding. Companies capture trillions of bytes of information about their customers, suppliers, and operations, and millions of networked sensors are being embedded in the physical world in devices such as mobile phones and automobiles, sensing, creating, and communicating data…Big data—large pools of data that can be captured, communicated, aggregated, stored, and analyzed—is now part of every sector and function of the global economy.” - McKinsey & Company
The McKinsey report uses case studies from a number of industries to detail the potential value that could be captured by using Big Data to make better business decisions and utilize resources more efficiently. One analysis looks at the U.S. healthcare sector, which now employs 11% of the working population and costs a staggering 17% of GDP each year. How much could using a Big Data approach save each year? McKinsey estimates up to $300 billion!
Much of the potential value to be captured comes from leveraging the power of combining and analyzing data that has traditionally existed in silos of different stakeholders in the health care system. The main data sources listed is the report are -
- Pharmaceutical R&D data
- Clinical data
- Activity (claims) and cost data
- Patient behavior and sentiment data
The breakdown of traditional data silos is gaining momentum as solutions to rising health care costs become critically important. The department of Health and Human Services (HHS) now publishes health datasets at data.gov/health and other initiatives are promoting the data liquidity necessary for Big Data approaches to thrive and deliver on the potential that experts such as McKinsey outline in their recent report. Capturing value in health care won’t be easy but as the report suggests, Big Data is a promising approach.
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