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A Policy Forum on the Use of Big Data in Health Care

On June 25, 2013, the BPC’s Health Innovation Initiative held a policy forum in collaboration with Intel to explore the potential that “big data” holds to improve both the delivery of care and the health and wellness of individuals.

Following opening remarks from U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Intel’s Eric Dishman, a panel of more than 35 leaders across the health care industry engaged in an interactive discussion on the promise, challenges, and key policy issues associated with the use of big data to improve health and health care in the United States.

Leading experts with a diverse range of perspectives provided opening insights to spur discussion on three key areas: the opportunities and the challenges of big data, how to operationalize its use, and effective ways to manage privacy and security. Insights offered by the participants during this interactive discussion are summarized in this report.

Overarching themes from the meeting are summarized below:

  • Data is the next great natural resource. Big data has the power to transform lives. In health care it can reveal the factors that influence health, help target appropriate care for individuals or populations, enable new discoveries, shape outcomes, and reduce costs.
  • Opportunities for big data bring new challenges. To fully realize the promise of big data, more work is needed to address common challenges, including improving data standardization and interoperability, promoting information sharing, engaging individuals and establishing strong data governance, improving upon analytical methods, developing workforce capabilities, and exploring ways to bring the value of big data to individuals and clinicians at the point of care.
  • Enhanced privacy and security are enablers for big data. Building awareness of the benefits of big data for improving health and health care among individuals, and allowing those individuals to participate with strong assurances about privacy and security, further enables big data to realize its promise.

Download the report [PDF]

The proceedings from the June 2013 meeting on big data in health care were released in conjunction with proceedings from a similar BPC meeting focused on homeland security, which was held in October 2013. Both reports were released in conjunction with the event “Innovation Economy: Navigating the Information Revolution” hosted by the Aspen Institute, the Bipartisan Policy Center, and Intel.

This event was part of a broader 2013 Innovation Economy: Information Revolution series of roundtable and public forums convened in parallel by the Aspen Institute and the Bipartisan Policy Center, in collaboration with Intel. The Innovation Economy conversation was convened by Intel in 2009, to focus on the vital role of innovation in sustaining and building upon U.S. competitiveness in the global economy.

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