Healthcare organizations are increasingly becoming inundated with data.
According to a 2014 IDC report, the volume of healthcare data in 2013 was 153 exabytes -- one exabyte equals a billion gigabytes. That number is projected to skyrocket to 2,314 exabytes by 2020.
When faced with this mountain of data -- 80% of which is unstructured -- one of the most pressing questions healthcare organizations must ask is how to store it all. While traditional disk-based healthcare data storage may be a viable option for smaller organizations, larger hospitals or health systems will need options that can handle data in the terabytes or petabytes.
Fortunately, there are options available for organizations that need to store large amounts of data. The cloud is still a popular choice, but flash is also beginning to gain ground as a storage option. Emerging blockchain technology is also being considered as a healthcare data storage option, although there may be hurdles to overcome first.
1Healthcare data storage tips-
Data storage advice for healthcare organizations
Different healthcare organizations will have different storage needs depending on the amount and kind of data to be stored. However, healthcare executives can look to other industries, such as retail, for tips on how to handle data storage. Executives should also keep regulatory requirements like HIPAA in mind when deciding on a healthcare data storage option.
The retail industry uses data analytics and storage to learn more about their customers; with the proper storage method, the healthcare industry could do the same and improve patient outcomes. Continue Reading
One health system uses a mix of storage options for disaster recovery, such as cloud and data centers, to retain access to health data in case of a cyberattack or network outage. Continue Reading
Health data storage is moving away from spinning disks to newer technology like flash and the cloud, but organizations should define the problem they want to solve -- such as speed of access or maintenance -- before choosing a storage option. Continue Reading
2Flash forward to the future-
Flash storage technology gains popularity
Flash is quickly becoming a viable alternative to disk- and cloud-based storage options. While the technology is fairly new in healthcare, it offers several benefits, such as low latency and instant access to data. Flash also offers nearly 100% uptime, so healthcare organizations don't have to worry about losing access to data in an outage.
Flash allows healthcare organizations to gain access to information much more quickly than disk-based storage. That can also help providers deliver better care for patients. Continue Reading
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3Blockchain for storage-
Blockchain as a healthcare data storage option
Blockchain has recently become one of the buzziest buzzwords in health IT; the technology is being touted as a possible solution for some of the biggest challenges in healthcare, such as interoperability and data exchange. However, some in health IT are considering the feasibility of blockchain as a healthcare data storage option as well.
At a joint NIST-ONC conference, health IT experts discussed the pros and cons of blockchain in healthcare. One possible use for the technology that was up for discussion was blockchain for health data storage. Continue Reading
Since healthcare data comes in a variety of formats, it could be difficult to use blockchain to store it. But ONC posited that blockchain could be used to maintain the links to medical records without actually storing the data on the network. Continue Reading