An Overview of Big Data Spending at HHS

Published: October 23, 2019

Big DataForecasts and SpendingHHS

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) represents 36% of the Civilian sector’s big data obligations from FY 2016-2018. HHS also reveals the highest percentage increase in contract spending on big data goods and services in the three-year period.

When it comes to big data goods and services, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) leads Civilian agencies in contract spending. Deltek analyzed FY 2016 to 2018 contract obligations and identified those related to big data software, hardware and services. As a result, Deltek found that Civilian agencies spent over $2.8B in the big data market during the three-year period, with HHS representing 36% of that total in over $630M in total spend. In addition to being the largest Civilian agency in big data contracted spend, HHS also showed the largest percentage increase, at 108%, in contract obligations from FY 2016 to 2018.

  • Growth in spending primarily occurs in big data services, rising from $96M in FY 2016 to $255M in FY 2018
    • The increase in services is largely due to rises in health analytics support and unspecified analytics, jumping from $2.6M in FY 2016 to $64M in FY 2018 and $949K in FY 2016 to $25M in FY 2018, respectively
  • Spending in big data hardware also increased from $2M in FY 2016 to $37M in FY 2018, with additional purchases in storage/servers ($36M total) and High Performance Computing (HPC) hardware ($5M total)
  • Top investments in this time period, according to dollars, include $21M in FY 2016 at CMS for its National Data Warehouse Hosting Services, and $20M in FY 2018 at CMS in data analytics for the Innovator Accelerator Program (IAP)

  • Data management ($81M), health analytics ($64M) and analysis support ($62M) make up the bulk of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) obligations
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) experienced a 43% increase, from $49M in FY 2016 to $70M in FY 2018, due to additional obligations in analysis support, HPC hardware and services, and the purchase of storage and servers
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) saw a 29% decrease from FY 2016 to 2018, due to less spending in analysis support (-$17M)
  • IT analytics makes up 43%, or $10M, of the obligations under the Secretary for HHS, which primarily occurs at the Office of Assistant Secretary for Administration

  • Analysis support increased 9.5%, from $56M in FY 2016 to $61M in FY 2018
  • Types of analytics that fall under Deltek’s definition of business analytics include predictive, financial, risk and behavioral analytics, with predictive analytics claiming 60% of obligations under total business analytics
  • Data warehouse support services represent the majority of spend under data management at 89%, growing from $31M in FY 2016 to $34M in FY 2018

HHS Big Data Organization and Initiatives

HHS has built a solid foundation in its data organization, instilling a Chief Data Officer (CDO) a few years ago, before many other large federal departments. CDOs also exist in component agencies such as CMS, NIH and within the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). In addition to building up data leadership within the department to help employ and deploy data for agency mission, HHS published an enterprise-wide data strategy earlier this year. The strategy stresses the use of the agency’s data to build an evidence-based portfolio to influence R&D as well as decision-making. The strategy centers on six strategies, which range from improving data access and interoperability, to building and training a strong data workforce.

HHS collection, maintenance and sharing of large health data sets for research, and continued efforts to use analytics to reduce health care fraud, will ensure a sound big data market for the agency in the coming years. For example, the NIH initiative, “All of Us” is building out a massive health data set with 1 million volunteers to identify patterns in lifestyle, environment and biological factors for improved precision medicine. Additionally, CMS and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) entered into an agreement earlier this year to make certain CMS data available to the VA for those veterans enrolled in both VA and Medicare. Moreover, CMS’ IAP initiative will continue to provide states with data analytics technical support and toolkits to help improve payment and delivery system reforms. Lastly, the HHS OIG is making strides in utilizing big data tools and solutions not only to conduct oversight into fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid, but also to improve its own business processes with evidence-based decision-making in its allocation of resources.

For further analysis on HHS and other federal departments in the big data space, refer to Deltek's Federal Big Data Market, 2019-2024 report. 

Get a free report summary of Federal Big Data Market, 2019-2024.