Europe’s healthcare systems face significant challenges, such as ageing populations, an increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases, and budgetary pressures. It is also estimated that around one-fifth of healthcare expenditures make minimal to no contribution to health outcomes for patients. Patient health outcomes vary widely within and across healthcare systems, regions, and countries. This raises questions about which therapies work best for patients and how improvements in healthcare can lead to better and more sustainable patient outcomes. Part of the challenge is to understand and optimize the contribution of the increasing number of data to the improvement of healthcare.
Big Data related to healthcare allows us to find better responses to these questions and challenges. There is already a considerable amount of patient and healthcare data available with much more on the horizon. This data, especially when different datasets are linked together, can make healthcare delivery more efficient and improve health outcomes. It will also help to better understand human biology which can in turn will facilitate research and development towards more effective and personalized therapies for patients. Ultimately, this can lead to a better quality of life and more affordable healthcare.
The HARMONY Alliance is funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative’s (IMI). IMI Big Data for Better Outcomes Programme (BD4BO) was launched in 2016, with a planned time-frame of about 10 years. Its overall objective is to maximize the potential of Big Data in European healthcare, and to promote innovative methods for harmonizing, accessing, and analysing data.
The BD4BO Programme comprises several disease-specific projects focusing on hematologic malignancies (HARMONY), Alzheimer’s disease (ROADMAP), cardiovascular diseases (BIG DATA@HEART), and prostate cancer, with potential studies of others at a later date. These disease-specific projects are supported by the Coordination and Support Action (CSA) as an overarching coordination structure, and the European Health Data Network (EHDN) project which will be a federated network of relevant data sources. The outcomes, project examples, and results of the Programme will be available for stakeholders and the public via BD4BO’s website and other communication channels.
BD4BO can only reach its aims to support and accelerate the evolution towards value-based, patient outcomes-focused and sustainable healthcare, with the collaboration and engagement of all relevant stakeholders. In the mid-term, BD4BO and its projects should be the “go-to” source for pan-European outcomes data and a trusted partner for patients, researchers, healthcare professionals, and decision-makers alike.
BD4BO will contribute to health care system change through: