• by bcarlson@marketresearch.com
  • July 9 2014


FDA Opens a Door to Big Data

FDA Opens a Door to Big Data

 Kalorama is now conducting research into Big Data efforts in Healthcare and will publish a report in August.  No entity in healthcare, it seems, is without some kind of program to anticipate Big Data and its use in the health care system.  In June the FDA announced the launch of openFDA, a solution aimed at opening up their "big data" - their massive volume of data so large that it is difficult to process using traditional database and software approaches. openFDA makes the FDA’s publicly available data accessible in a structured, computer-readable format. This initiative is specifically designed to make it easier for web developers, researchers, and the public to access and use the many large health datasets the agency collects.

Both the private and public sectors have always been invited to mine available FDA data, but the process often proved cumbersome, sometimes requiring downloads of files in a variety of formats, which were generally not fully documented. Whatever the access method, it proved slow and labor-intensive.

openFDA will provide a search-based application programming interface, which will make it possible to find online both structured and unstructured content. Software developers are now able to build applications both mobile and interactive to search for and pull information directly from FDA datasets.

openFDA uses technologies deployed on the FDA’s new Public Cloud Computing infrastructure enabled by their Office of Informatics and Technology Innovation (OITI), and will serve as a guide as to how the FDA can spur innovation.

The launch of openFDA dovetails well with the Obama Administration’s “Big Data Research and Development Initiative,” which aims to make the most of the fast-growing volume of digital data. Projects already underway in conjunction with this are mining the 3 million plus reports of drug adverse reactions or medication errors that have been submitted to FAERS, the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System, since 2004.