Big data lacks demonstrated 'real-world' value

Big data will not reduce costs or improve care unless the industry overcomes challenges around standards and methods, according to a report from the national health policy institute Network for Excellence in Health Innovation (NEHI).

"Big Data has not ... addressed the dilemma of how our healthcare system can allow for real-world demonstration of the value of innovations while controlling costs," Thomas E. Hubbard, principal author and vice president of policy research at NEHI, said in an announcement.

"The great strength of research with patient data is that--when it meets clear and robust standards for analysis--it can yield findings that are especially well targeted to treatment. But routinely collected patient data rarely meets such standards," Hubbard said. "Making use of existing data will be a huge effort. On top of that, we need new methods of analysis."

Priorities going forward, according to the report, include:

  • Clarifying policy on access to emerging real-world data sets for research.
  • Promoting transparency in communication and use of comparative effectiveness research (CER) and real-world data.
  • Defining and measuring value in ways that recognize the variability in treatment effects among patients.
  • Developing high-quality data and sound research methods in new CER that relies on electronic claims and clinical data.

The federally funded Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is building out an ambitious "network of networks" to provide access to a large amount of health information to make research faster and more efficient--as well as more focused on patients.

Meanwhile, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT recently warned that public health agencies need to build the technical and administrative infrastructure necessary to receive the massive amounts of data being generated, as well as the capability to effectively share that information.

To learn more:
- find the report
- here's the announcement