Big Data Use In Pharma

What does a recent survey say about it?


A recent survey by Best Practice LLC has given us an insight into how the pharma industry is utilising Big Data today and how they are likely to use it in the future.

Through collating information from some of the biggest pharma companies in the world, they are hoping to draw a picture of how data has been used by them to help with their operations.

Some of the results are relatively surprising, none more so than having only 5 of the 36 types of data outlined being classified as ‘highly valuable’. These include Electronic Health Records, Health Outcomes, Real World Studies and Registries.

These in themselves are not surprising as they represent some of the most important areas in which pharma companies operate, but that there aren’t more says much about the industry.

As there were 36 different data types used, it may suggest that rather than taking a deep dive approach to their data gathering and analytics programmes, they are focussing on certain areas only.

This is supported by some of the other facts, like 60% of those surveyed not having a centralized or dedicated Big Data team. With a lack of centralized data processes, it could become difficult to incorporate a wider variety of data from more disparate sources.

However, despite this only 30-40% of those asked believed that their capabilities were likely to increase in the next next two years, which is surprising given the constant growth of available data and the improvement and pricing of technology that has the capability to collect it effectively.

Big Data in pharma is growing and this is only to increase in the coming years, which is established by the belief that of those asked from the survey, 73% either have a dedicated Big Data team already or will do in the next 2 years. Again, this is confusing as a centralized data team would suggest a ramping up of data programmes, but only 30-40% believe that their capabilities were likely to increase. If this is the case, why are they putting a centralized data team in place?

It is worth noting that this article is based on the main findings of the survey only, but they do seem to be fairly contradictory once you look beyond the surface. However, this in itself says a considerable amount about the wider interest in Big Data within the pharma industry; the future is bright but unpredictable. 


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