Jeff Rowe, Editor, Future Care

Jeff Rowe is the editor of Future Care and a veteran healthcare journalist and blogger who has reported extensively on initiatives to improve the healthcare system at the local, regional and national level.

Providers see big data as potential game-changer for healthcare

March 16, 2017 AT 9:13 PM

A majority of doctors expect that personalized medicine, powered by data, will reduce the costs of care while simultaneously improving patient outcomes. 

That’s according to the recent NEJM Catalyst Insights Report on Care Redesign, by which researchers “took a read on the effectiveness of healthcare data, both today and in five years.”

“We have entered an exciting era where big data has the potential to become a game changer for healthcare,” wrote Amy Compton-Phillips, Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer for Providence St. Joseph Health, in a blog post at NEJM Catalyst describing the survey. 

“Providers are poised to put data into the hands of consumers and payers to drive a value-oriented care delivery system that enlightens patients about their health and the path to affordable care.”

Among the findings, there’s strong interest among executives, clinical leaders and clinicians in genomics and patient-generated data. For example, 40 percent of respondents said genomics data will be useful five years from now, and an equal number also said patient-generated data will be useful five years from now.

At the same time, 58% said cost data will be useful five years from now, up 4% from those who said it is useful today.

“This rejiggering of the top useful sources of health care data tells us that people realize cost matters,” Compton-Phillips wrote. “What’s more, . . . with patient-generated data and genomic data, we will be able to create true ‘n of 1’ medicine with options specific to each patient’s needs, giving a boost to priorities such as care coordination and improved clinical decision support.”

In other findings, more than half of respondents said their organization is effectively using data for direct patient care, but most still point to interoperability as a major barrier, and while just 18 percent of respondents said the impact of big data is “mainly hype,” 44 percent said useful applications are still several years away.