May 28, 2015

When it comes to data, big pharma knows what big pharma likes, according to a new survey of giant pharmaceutical companies that included AstraZeneca, Merck, Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim. The winners in the data sweepstakes? Claims, electronic health records, health outcomes, real world studies, and registries.

However, no flavors of online or machine-generated data were rated highly by a majority in the project, “Big Data in Pharma,” conducted by Best Practices LLC. Eleven companies and twelve leaders were engaged in the benchmark study designed to produce reliable industry metrics on future and current trends for big data utilization across medical and commercial groups.

Post-launch and customer segmentation studies represented the most common big data projects at play today, with a majority of participants saying that partnerships with payers and data aggregators were “highly impactful.” Health systems were also perceived as valuable partners in each segment.

Big Pharma Goes Big for Big DataMedical teams also tended to find more value across data sources when compared to analytics in other functions, the survey found. Best Practices also conducted seven deep-dive executive interviews with selected benchmark participants.

While the majority (58%) reported leveraging a dedicated big data team, it’s somewhat surprising that the remainder said their analytics efforts weren’t centralized to that degree. Less surprising, perhaps, was that these same companies reported the vast majority of their capabilities and governance were based in North America and the European Union. Asia and non-EU countries accounted for less than 20% of local data capability strength.

Respondents, who also included Esteve, Bayer Health Care, Novartis, Janssen, Gilead, and Genentech, said they most valued big data partnerships with payers and data aggregators.

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