Big data could transform the health-care sector, but the industry must undergo fundamental changes before stakeholders can capture its full value.
A big-data revolution is under way in health care. Start with the vastly increased supply of information. Over the last decade, pharmaceutical companies have been aggregating years of research and development data into medical databases, while payors and providers have digitized their patient records. Meanwhile, the US federal government and other public stakeholders have been opening their vast stores of health-care knowledge, including data from clinical trials and information on patients covered under public insurance programs. In parallel, recent technical advances have made it easier to collect and analyze information from multiple sources—a major benefit in health care, since data for a single patient may come from various payors, hospitals, laboratories, and physician offices.