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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Jun 4 2012   9:32PM GMT

What to expect from Big Data in healthcare

Posted by: RedaChouffani

There has been a lot of talk about Big Data and Business Intelligence applications in the healthcare. Big data is one of the biggest trends, and as with any other technology, if it provides opportunity to improve care then it is worth looking into.  There are numerous examples and articles on the value and advantages of data use in healthcare, but not enough on how to utilize the data within a hospital facility and what systems to collect data from.

First started, many healthcare facilities that have moved to electronic medical records have collected a significant amount of data regarding patients who have passed through the system.  While the data is managed and distributed across multiple software solutions (radiology, surgery, nutrition services, Nursing notes, labs and other applications), with the move toward HIE, several hospitals have adopted solutions that help centralize and consolidate some of the into one summarized comprehensive record.

As this data continues to grow, it has provided organization with endless possibilities for meaningful usage.  But in order to do so, many needed to deploy business intelligence tools that can assist them through this data mining journey.

There is the case for some EHR vendors providing some basic BI tools to use, however, when talking about Big Data, we are also talking about utilizing several different sources of data from many systems and being able to connect information from different vendors and identify specific trends and abnormal things.

Big Data cannot be handled with the same traditional approach used for reporting.  The challenge is not just limited to the mammoth amounts of data that is to be used, but also security and integration with other non EHR based data sources.  Some of the examples of data sources that would be available:

Voice data files:  Nuance provides solutions that utilize their latest smart voice recognition technology and CLU (clinical language understanding) to create structured data out of voice data dictated by hospital physicians.

Personal fitness monitoring devices data: With the rise of these monitoring devices in the consumer arena, the data that is being made available ranging from physical activities, sleeping habits, heart, calories in take and such are also providing some insight to what patients are doing outside the hospital that can affect their health and well-being.

Patient Genome: As molecular biology continues to make strides toward identifying patients are higher risks for some disease and response to drugs.   As some of this data becomes available, hospitals can use some of that data.

Analytics competency can help these healthcare organizations harness “big data” to truly discover new insights, set their future vision, improve population health and improve operations.

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