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Health Care Costs Dropping Thanks to Big Data, Reveals Christopher Boone, Avalere

Health Care Costs Dropping Thanks to Big Data, Reveals Christopher Boone, Avalere

Christopher Boone, Avalere Health executive, explains how Big Data is helping to reduce the costs of health care.

Christopher Boone, Avalere Health vice president of evidence translation and implementation, has realized that the advent of Big Data analytics in health care will ultimately help to reduce the cost of health care services overall. The most talked about method of cost reduction that Big Data brings to the industry is in the advent of preventative care. With this avenue, Big Data research is helping medical professionals catch and prevent major health issues in their patients before they become a problem, which naturally reduces that patient’s health care expenses and thereby the cost of health care overall.



But another major way that Big Data is helping to bring down the costs of health care in America, says Boone, is through its impact on pharmaceutical companies. Namely, thanks to Big Data analytics, more pharmaceutical companies are able to improve their research and development processes while simultaneously lowering the costs of these same processes.



What is Big Data?


As Christopher Boone, Avalere Health executive, explains it, Big Data is a term that refers to the collection and analysis of data sets that were until fairly recently, considered too large to collect and analyze with any amount of practicality. The health care industry has traditionally been full of these types of data sets, with much disparate and disconnected information surrounding patient health, medical conditions, treatment outcomes, drug protocols, and so on.



Because all of this data had been largely unstructured, professionals found it difficult if not impossible to collate and process it using traditional means. With recent technological innovation, though, particularly cloud computing and warehouse-based analytic platforms, this information has become easier for professionals to compile, access, and analyze. This Big Data analysis has helped fuel many actionable insights within the health care industry, in turn leading to major improvements in patient care and preventative medicine while at the same time helping to keep rising health care costs better under control.


Big Savings for Big Pharma



As explained in an article by Medill Reports, the largest pharmaceutical drug makers in the world, known colloquially as “big pharma,” have all begun to utilize the power of Big Data analytics as well. The global consultancy McKinsey & Co. predicts that this Big Data analysis could help these major pharmaceutical makers reduce their costs for research and development by as much as $40 billion to $70 billion as the data revolution brings about an “era of open information in health care.”



Christopher Boone, Avalere evidence translation and implementation specialist, agrees, saying that pharmaceutical companies now have thousands of sources for relevant data to tap into for their research purposes. Many new fitness apps for mobile devices are tracking the relevant health data of their users, which can then be uploaded to a massive variety of online patient communities and support groups.



Big Data mining techniques can compile all of this information into a more easily analyzed format, letting pharmaceutical companies see a broad swath of relevant information on the health of whole populations in closer detail, as well as the trends and patterns to which this data points.


Big Savings for Little Pharma



While Big Data is serving to help major pharmaceutical companies slash their costs and improve their research, FiercePharma editor Tracy Staton reports that smaller drug makers may find the most strategic benefit in Big Data. As a new study from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics has found, pharmaceutical makers have been presented with a short list of reasons to improve the quality and efficiency of their data gathering.



“Payers want more evidence that their products not only work as promised but also deliver better (and cheaper) outcomes for patients,” says Staton. “That means more digging into patient records to analyze what’s working and forging technological ties to patients to make sure therapy goes as planned – not to mention generating the data payers want for proof.”



Thanks to the proliferation of greater health and drug information as a result of Big Data, many more patients now also want to have a higher level of input into the prescriptions made for them by their doctors. Marketing must also become more highly targeted in order to make sure that the right patients are receiving the right treatments as health care switches its focus to specialty drugs. All of this means a greater need for drug makers to find and communicate with patients.


The Effect of Big Data on Life Sciences



As Christopher Boone, Avalere Health executive, explains it, “Health IT systems have created voluminous amounts of Big Data that are currently being captured, normalized, and analyzed in order to inform clinical, payer, and policy/regulatory decision makers. It is expected that Big Data will be used as evidence and negotiating levers during value-based purchasing decisions.”



With the majority of Big Data residing with providers, payers, and HIT vendors, Boone says that life sciences organizations are being put in a tough situation to justify clinical and economic value of their products with limited access to this data. “Moreover,” he says, “life sciences organizations could utilize the data to build a competitive advantage by increasing its understanding of diseases and treatments, informing its product design/development, and positioning its products in the market. All of this is essential for their business.”



All across the health care industry, professionals, companies, and service providers look to Big Data in order to increase the cost effectiveness of their services. As Christopher Boone, Avalere Health vice president, explains, the result of all of this is better quality services for patients at reduced prices.


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