Big Data And Healthcare

Author:Mr Robert Bond
Profession:Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

In 2012 Gartner reported "big data will deliver transformational benefits to enterprises within 2 to 5 years, and by 2015, will enable enterprises adopting this technology to outperform competitors by 20% in every available financial metric."

Big data, the art and science of combining multiple sources of information about specific targets or sectors from which to then draw value added outcomes is only of value when big analytics are utilised.

Simply amassing large volumes of data including personal data does not of itself add value. It is only when good analytics are applied to the data sets and databases that real value can be extracted.

In the healthcare and life sciences sectors big analytics is already producing results for the industry and patients alike. In their 2014 report titled "Order from Chaos" EY explained that when destructive consumer technology, personalised medicine, big analytics, maturing capabilities of cloud computing and healthcare cost reductions are combined "these five trends create an environment that gives life sciences and healthcare organisations the opportunity to provide true patient - centricity that delivers outcomes. They may enable organisations to develop models of preventative and outcome based healthcare that aligns the goals of pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, healthcare practitioners, providers, payers, and most important the patient".

The increase in wearable technology is beginning to enable individuals with particular health problems and/or allergies to take day to day control of their health and the increase in vitro devices which incorporate communication devices that provides benefits in the form of just in time patching and fixing.

Whilst technology coupled with science brings undoubted benefits to the industry and to the patient regulators are also concerned about data privacy and patient's rights.     

During October 2014, a number of press announcements indicated a growing interest by Regulators in the impact that medical devices have upon personal data, and shows an increasing shift in attention on companies in the medical device and medical technology sector. On the 1st October 2014 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it had finalised recommendations to manufacturers for managing cyber security risks in order to better protect patient health data and information.

In its recent survey about the use of medical devices, the UK Information Commissioner's...

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