Impact of Big Data in Medicine and pharmaceutical industry

Big Data in Medicine and pharmaceutical industry

Impact of Big Data in Medicine and pharmaceutical industry


In today’s world, a huge volume of information is available in medication. This medication data can be utilized to construct improved and efficient well being profiles of individual patients. And, such an organized patient profile can be used to provide them with better treatment and appropriate medicines. In this article, I will talk about how the medication data (which is basically big data) is used in the medicine and pharmacy industry to provide better treatment.

What is the current scenario of data generation?

The amount of Big Data generated every day is growing at an exponential rate. This means that new kinds of data are being generated for every field of human knowledge, including that of the pharmaceutical and medical fields. However, many organizations are still struggling to handle all the data and convert them into sensible information. So, it is important that more and more companies know about the benefits of Big Data in healthcare, medical and pharmaceutical fields in order to carry out better Big Data partnerships and provide more benefits to the masses.

Many firms like the Best Practices, LLC, say that the current use of Big Data is happening for making many major decisions involving pharmaceutical and medical services. A survey conducted by the Best Practices also revealed that every participant contributed to Big Data in at least some way. About 53% of the participants of the survey had a Big Data scientist team already, and about 20% are expected to hire one in a year.

How medication data is forming big data?

The advent of new tools for Big Data generation has resulted in a blast of new data being generated every second. This is especially due to the large organisations creating huge amounts of research data. This data comes in different types and formats.

In the field of healthcare and pharmaceuticals, this data is created by different kinds of sources. If the data is correctly used, then a large amount of revenue can be earned and newer medications can be developed too. The McKinsey Global Institute has conducted a study which estimates that if Big Data strategies are properly used, they can account for revenue up to $100 billion every year. The data provided by the pharmaceutical industries, i.e. the medical data, is becoming huger day-by-day, which must be properly utilized for better decision making and healthcare.

What are the sources of medication data?

In the field of medicine and pharmaceuticals, Big Data comes from many different types of sources. The primary sources of this kind of data include the process of R&D, caretakers of the patients, the patient themselves and from the retailers of the drug. Some other sources include data from the disease outbreaks occurring, data from the previous clinical trials were done, records of the census, treatment and therapy patterns, disease patterns, hospital and clinical records etc.

With such diverse amount of data coming in from different sources, it is necessary for the data collection and processing system to be accurate and quick enough to make sense of such humongous data. This data must be processed in as close as possible to real time, as this will ensure quick responses and faster decisions for the pharmaceutical firms.

However, a major hurdle is that about 80% of the total Big Data collected from these sources arrives in the form of unstructured data. These data sources include pathology reports, clinical notes, consultant notes, physician notes and hospital data. So, these also have to be processed as quickly as possible.

What insight can we expect from medication data?

As Big Data contains the information collected from the masses, it can be properly processed for obtaining many medicinal insights. These insights include information about an outbreak of a disease, information about how it is being handled currently and information on a certain medical problem faced by the masses, for example, obesity.

Also, data can be collected about a certain individual or a group of individuals facing similar ailments to get insight on their condition based on historic data and then provide them with personalized healthcare services for better healthcare and pharmaceutics.

How these data can form better patient profile?

The large amounts of data generated by the different medical sources, if used properly, can really redefine the creation of patient profiles. A specific branch of Big Data known as Predictive Analysis can help in this. Predictive Analytics combines machine learning technology with the medical data about a patient, to make an accurate patient profile which can be used to predict the causes of the symptoms of the patient and cure them easily based on the historic data.

For this, the Big Data stores are thoroughly scanned for medical information about either a specific patient or the whole populace. Some extra data is collected from the external databases for enhancing the quality of the medical patient profile. With the use of Predictive Analysis, all these data collected can be combined to form a single database which will contain all the data that is needed for creating a highly accurate patient profile. Now, this profile can be used to help the patients to deal with their ailments easily. Thus, the patient profile creation system is becoming more and more accurate with the help of Big Data’s Predictive Analysis and machine learning techniques.

What are the influences in medicine and pharmacy industry?

Big Data is having a huge impact in the field of medicine and the pharmaceutical industry. It is helping the medicinal industry in tackling plenty of real world problems. These problems include analysis of the patterns of diseases in different countries, which require certain emergency medications to be prepared in advance for the disease’s prevention.

Also, Big Data is influencing the field of drug discovery. The proper analysis of Big Data from resources like medical journals and clinical records helps a pharmaceutical company to target the specific ailments or find areas for use of their newly made drugs. This work is done in a very cost-effective manner too. It also helps in the proper management of the clinical trials performed, so that the side effects of new drugs are reported.

Some practical use cases

Many medical and pharmaceutical firms are currently using Big Data for various uses. One such company is the Explorys, which has a large healthcare database based on its collection and processing of Big Data. This database helps other bio-scientists to find out more about an ailment and find out the best medicine for countering its effects.

Also, a firm known as Propeller Health is using Big Data for proper asthma management. This firm use data from various sources like sensors in asthma inhalers and smartphone apps to detect the patient’s condition and prevent an asthma attack based on the data pattern.

Another example is that of NextBio, which uses the Big Data obtained from the human genome to help the health care providers in offering customized solutions to patients.


It is expected that in the near future, Big Data will be combined with the pharmaceutical industry to an even greater extent than it is today. With better Big Data mining and processing techniques, it will be used even more extensively and the pharmaceutical industry will be able to offer better solutions to the masses.

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