While big data by definition captures a large amount of detail for a large number of patients, what it can’t do is provide a company with the big picture, “the wide angle view.”  While big data sets such as SharedClarity, formed by UnitedHealthcare and several large provider systems, can be excellent tools for answering specific questions — for example, which implantable devices show measurably better patient outcomes over time — these data sets can’t tell a manufacturer what it needs to do to make its product more attractive to its key decision makers: payers, patients and physicians.  Consider a product that shows equivalent outcomes, but offers simpler dosing.  To identify the advantages of simpler dosing, you have to see the big picture and consider the implications of co-morbidities on patient adherence.  When you’re examining a single question in a large dataset, considerations outside the scope of your question may not be obvious.

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