Big Data Spending Climbs Among Health-Centric Agencies

Published: September 15, 2021

Federal Market AnalysisBig DataCoronavirus (COVID-19) PandemicDHAHHSHealth ITInformation TechnologySpending TrendsVA

Deltek’s analysis of big data contract spending from FY 2018 to 2020 among top public health agencies totaled $2.7B, an increase of 42% over the three-year period.

With data as the undercurrent of federal government operations and missions, as well as an enabler for advanced technologies such as quantum computing and artificial intelligence, it is no wonder contract spending on big data good and services is on the rise.

Spending among federal health-centric agencies is no exception. In fact, data is the very backbone, if you will, of the public health sector. From its influence on scientific research, to delivering top-notch patient care, the strength of health data infrastructures proves to be immensely critical.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted this criticality as health agencies scrambled to obtain reliable data and utilize it in areas such as outbreak and contact traceability, genetic sequencing for vaccine development, and evidence-based decision-making policies. In essence, the pandemic brought to light the need for strengthened health data management and synchronization within all echelons of federal, state and local governments.  

Reported contract spending from FY2018 to 2020 reveals the same story. The federal health sector has a growing reliance on sound data processes, solutions and services. The charts below reflects spending at top federal health agencies – namely, Health and Human Services (HHS), Veterans Affairs (VA), and the Defense Health Agency (DHA).

Source: FPDS, Deltek

As expected, HHS takes the lead in big data spending among health-centric federal agencies, representing nearly 75% of the $2.7B total. Also expected, contract obligations peaked at the height of the pandemic to a total of $1B among the three organizations in FY 2020.

Additional Observations:

  • COVID-19 related obligations totaled $82M in FY 2020, including $51M at HHS, $25M at DHA, and $6M at the VA
  • The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) led HHS agencies in spending with $824M total in the three-year period, followed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with $529M
  • Sample programs out of HHS include:
    • $23M task order for “Strategic Engagement, Education, Outreach, and Analytics Support for COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma”.
    • $19M and $18M task orders in FY 2018 and FY 2019, respectively for “IAM MACBIS and IAP Data Analytics” at CMS
  • Sample programs at VA include multiple $2M task orders for “Brain Tissue Sequencing and Data Analysis” at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA)
  • Sample program at DHA includes a $30M task order for “Splunk Enterprise License Agreement Software Bundle”

Source: FPDS, Deltek


  • HHS spent $494M on Data Management and Integration products and services from FY 2018 to 2020, followed by DHA ($111M) and the VA ($88M)
  • Analytics also topped all three agencies’ big data categories with $909M at HHS, $128M at the VA, and $50M at DHA over the three-year time frame
  • Top types of analytics at HHS from FY 2018 to 2020 include Business Analytics ($310M) and Health Analytics ($127M)
  • Top types of analytics at the VA from FY 2018 to 2020 include Business Analytics ($31M) and Security Analytics ($30M)
  • Top types of analytics at DHA from FY 2018 to 2020 include Business Analytics ($12M) and Health Analytics ($8M)

Looking ahead, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, public health IT will look to improve data standardization and policies, amass additional data science professionals, as well as increase system interoperability capacities. Access to real-time data for enhanced analytics will also be of high demand. Moreover, patient-generated data is likely to grow, specifically with the increasing use of wearables, resulting in a larger need for additional data storage solutions such as common data lakes.

For more on big data, and other technology influencers within the federal health IT environment, refer to Deltek's recent Federal Health IT, 2021 - 2023 report. Stay tuned, Deltek plans to publish its Federal Big Data Market, 2021 - 2023 report later next month for more insight into the growing federal big data market.