Mentions of big data within the filings of companies in the healthcare sector fell 33% between the first and second quarters of 2021.
In total, the frequency of sentences related to big data between July 2020 and June 2021 was 20% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.
When healthcare companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Big data is one of these topics - companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.
To assess whether big data is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of healthcare companies, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned big data at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 70% compared to 64% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to big data.
Of the 30 biggest employers in the healthcare sector, Netcare Ltd was the company which referred to big data the most between July 2020 and June 2021. GlobalData identified 42 big data-related sentences in the South Africa-based company's filings - 0.9% of all sentences. R1 RCM Inc mentioned big data the second most - the issue was also referred to in 0.9% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high big data mentions included Cerner Corp, Life Healthcare Group Holdings Ltd and Fleury SA.
Across all healthcare companies the filing published in the second quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on big data came from CorVel Corp. Of the document's 1,120 sentences, eight (0.7%) referred to big data.
This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on big data and how important the issue is considered within the healthcare sector, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning big data more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into big data have been successes or failures.
GlobalData also categorises big data mentions by a series of subthemes. Of these subthemes, the most commonly referred to topic in the second quarter of 2021 was 'data centers', which made up 50% of all big data subtheme mentions by healthcare companies.