Major challenges

Europe’s healthcare systems are facing significant challenges. An ageing population, a rise in the prevalence of chronic diseases, and budgetary pressures are just some of the most pressing issues. Adding to this complexity, patient health outcomes vary widely within and across healthcare systems, regions, and countries. In fact, it’s estimated that almost one-fifth of healthcare expenditures makes minimal to no contribution to health outcomes for patients. This raises life-impacting questions around which therapies work best for patients and how improvements in healthcare can lead to better and more sustainable patient outcomes.

Another key factor is a European health data collection landscape that can best be described as an uncoordinated, duplicative and inefficient group of systems. Linked to this is yet another challenge: how to engage patients to become more active data owners and contributors to help them become the ultimate beneficiaries of improved outcomes. Ensuring their privacy is also critical.

Transformational Big Data

There is already a considerable amount of patient and healthcare data available with much more on the horizon. When linked together and managed properly, this data can lead to a better understanding of human biology, which in turn, can facilitate research and development towards more effective and personalised therapies for patients. In short, Big Data has the potential to meet today’s challenges and by so doing, transform healthcare across the entire pathway for every stakeholder, with the ultimate outcome of improved patient care and value.

BD4BO ambitions

Meeting these challenges led to the launch in 2016 of the Innovative Medicines Initiative’s (IMI2) Big Data for Better Outcomes Programme (BD4BO). With a planned time-frame of about ten years, its framework represents the world’s largest public/private partnership in life sciences.

The BD4BO mission is to improve health outcomes and healthcare systems in Europe by maximising the potential of Big Data.

The potential of Big Data extends across the full spectrum of healthcare. But to focus resources more efficiently, BD4BO is initially targeting four disease areas: cardiovascular diseases, haematological malignancies, Alzheimer’s disease and prostate cancer – others will follow in the near future.

The disease-specific projects are supported by:
• DO->IT – an overarching coordination structure for all BD4BO projects (completed in 2019)
• European Health Data and Evidence Network (EHDEN) – a federated network of relevant and high-quality data sources.

A healthier future

Big Data, when managed more effectively, has the potential to improve health outcomes and healthcare systems in Europe. It’s this ambitious aspiration that has motivated the pharmaceutical industry to come together to create the BD4BO Programme. The benefits are clear, far-reaching and have the potential to be truly transformational. Achieving these goals will also strengthen relationships and trust amongst all the key players.

Working together is key. The level of enthusiasm and collaboration we are seeing across the broad spectrum of stakeholders is reason to be confident that BD4BO is on the right track. But change of this scale will no doubt be gradual and challenging. So, please join us by becoming an active BD4BO advocate and help Europe accelerate its evolution towards value-based, patient outcomes-focused and sustainable healthcare.