How Healthcare Is Using Big Data

July 29, 2014
Ben Gonyea

For better or worse, 90 percent of all the world’s data has been generated over the past two years, in large thanks to the Internet of Things and the startling emergence of mainstream Big Data.

For a long time, no one was really sure of how to use that data. In fact, many people and businesses still aren't completely sure what to do with the data they're collecting. That said, there is one industry that seems to hold particular promise when it comes to Big Data: healthcare.

Healthcare has an immense amount of data, and experts in healthcare are beginning to realize how big of an impact that data could have if used properly. Here are a few of the most interesting ways that healthcare is using big data, and why they may matter to you:

  • Turning healthcare from reactive to proactive: Google X very recently launched a program called “Baseline Study,” intended to help us better understand the human body. Google is seeking to create a picture of a healthy human body, and eventually search for “biomarkers” to determine that something is wrong. This could have far-reaching impacts in healthcare even if it is in very early stages.
  • Tying gadgets to traditional data: Data could allow for better predictions of who needs care and when by drawing on a combination of traditional data already in use in healthcare with data from smartphones. This raises some privacy concerns, but could help identify patients who are not managing a chronic condition well or were recently discharged from the hospital.
  • Identifying cases of perceived fraud, waste, or abuse: Booz Allen recently worked with a federal agency experimenting with Big Data analytics to identify cases of perceived fraud, waste, or abuse. Although they’re still figuring out the best ways to go about meeting that goal, they’ve found that the data they have available could work as a strong aid in fraud detection in healthcare.

MIT Tech Review seems largely convinced that technology could fix medicine. Chris Bergstrom, WellDoc’s chief strategy and commercial article, remarked that Big Data in healthcare is like “one of the largest clinical trials in history.” It has the potential to completely change the face of healthcare as we know it.

Whether you're in healthcare or not, now is an exciting time to be alive. These innovative uses of Big Data are likely only the tip of the iceberg, and we can't wait to see what's next.

No matter how you want to use Big Data, you’re going to need a data center capable of helping you store data and eventually crunch numbers. You could attempt to build a data center yourself, or you could get on board with a company like Telx that can help you scale and grow through change.

To learn more about how we can enable you to have success in this era of Big Data, reach out to us via the contact page of our site, or by Facebook or Twitter.

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