Healthcare needs a digital rethinking – next stop ‘value-based care’

Most hospitals and clinics have recognized the opportunity to invest in big data. They are collecting immense amounts of information, however this data sits mostly unused and thus creates no value. Here is how healthcare might profit from big data.

The pure collection of data is insufficient, as Gray Matter Analytics president and CEO Sheila Talton points out.


The real story is: How do you have data that’s accessible that can actually become information? Because data is not information,” she said.


Hospitals, clinics and doctors by now have established processes to gather data.  However, current systems only show what has already happened anyway. Descriptive and predictive insights and prescriptive recommendations is what modern healthcare needs.

There is no one-fits-all in big data

One of the issues is that health data is often siloed. When using big data, value is often created, when different data sources are bundled. Therefore, health organizations should consider sharing data to make the best use of it.


Another issue is finding the right approach to manage data. There is no one-fits-all model, as every hospital or doctor has different patient population and budget.

Value-based care as a driving force

For some organizations, big data is simply a budget issue. Some healthcare systems already find it difficult to maintain their facilities and tools. In this regard, new processes and programs are hard to justify.


However, the need for sensible data integration might be driven by focus on value-based care. The approach changes the incentive to focus on value by rewarding better outcomes and lower spendings. A predictive data driven health system may prove to be a solution.

“Value-based care is here to stay,” Talton said. “That continuum is continuing.”


Industry leaders should address several questions: How is the data manipulated and managed? How can it be used to reduce costs for patients and organizations? How can it simplify the lives of clinicians?

In Talton’s eyes, a modern health system should become a data-centric entity. For that, long-term planning is required to fully benefit from big data analytics. This can only be done in a collective way. Instead of focusing on installing generalized solutions for data collection, health organizations should consider their primary goals.


As the current healthcare system is being questioned, proper big data analytics should be considered to deliver affordable and more precise care and medication. Just collecting a high amount of data won’t cut it.

Source of title image: iStock / sanjeri