Big Data has been ascribed “transformative potential” in healthcare systems, with potential benefits across the entire pathway of care delivery, and affecting all stakeholders (patients, providers, wider society, etc.).

Potential of Big Data

Valuable information is stored in separate databases in the healthcare system. The potential of Big Data to revolutionise healthcare can only be realised by linking existing data. Quality and coordination of care can be improved through the use of shared electronic health records, and linked datasets enable the transformation towards value-based healthcare. However, many of today’s investments in large datasets and real world evidence are uncoordinated, duplicative, and inefficient due to lack of agreement on standardised IT-solutions, terminology and outcomes to measure patient benefits, lack of appropriate data sources and methods to collect, analyse, report and use/interpret data.

Opportunities of Big Data

The opportunities offered by Big Data will only materialise when healthcare systems move beyond the mere collection of large amounts of data. Linkage of previously separated data sets and their analysis using appropriate Big Data analytics offer new ways to accelerate research and to identify the right treatment for individual patients. Access to large data sets that paint a more comprehensive picture of patients allows patient-relevant outcomes to be measured more accurately. If they are of enough quality and/or supported by other findings such as lab data they can support decision-makers in shaping patient focused healthcare systems.