6 Ways Pharmaceutical Companies are Using Big Data to Drive Innovation & Value

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Pharmaceutical companies have always relied on empirical data in order to identify patterns, test theories and understand the efficacy of treatments. Big data is just another evolution in a trend that has been continuing for hundreds of years: that of human beings having ever greater access to information and data. Arguably, the creation of human knowledge and data has been accelerating since the invention of the moveable type printing press in the 15th century. That single innovation allowed information to disseminate like never before – scientists could now easily share the results of research in one country with scientists around the world.

Information technology has only accelerated that process making it possible to share and tap into more sources of information than it would ever be possible for the solitary human mind to process. We have long been in an age where there is too much information for one single person to analyse. What the computer software industry is now calling “Big Data” – consisting of greater volumes, variety and velocity of data than ever before – is really just more data.

That the capability now exists to process and make sense of that data through analytic technology represents a great opportunity for scientists and pharmaceutical companies. Whether from accelerating drug discovery or better understanding patient trends and behaviour, Big Data holds great promise for those companies looking to tap its potential. Consultancy McKinsey estimates that effective big data strategies could generate up to $100 billion in value annually in the US healthcare system alone.

But to really garner the benefits requires a different way of looking at data. Here are 6 ways that pharmaceutical companies can use Big Data to generate business value and drive innovation.