By the Blouin News Technology staff

What big data can bring to healthcare

by in Enterprise Tech.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Interest in how big data can help various industries is mounting slowly as more people begin to comprehend what big data actually is and how it can assist in business intelligence. The healthcare industry — particularly in the U.S. — is moving into utilizing big data to better perform patient needs and research, but the inclusion of such a concept is easier said than done.

VISUAL CONTEXT: THE EVOLVING UNDERSTANDING OF BIG DATA

Source: Technology Dynamics

Source: Technology Dynamics

In the PwC network’s 2014 survey of international CEOs, 95% of healthcare CEOs said they are exploring big data as a way to harness more information about the pain points of their practices, and to anticipate what they will need to deliver in the future. InformationWeek quotes Manmeet Singh, co-founder and CEO of Dataguise, on the integration of big data and other technologies such as cloud computing:

Earlier, data warehousing and analytics was restricted to larger organizations because it was cost prohibitive. What big data has done has brought it down to smaller orgs. But the biggest challenge with these smaller markets and mid-tier organizations is resources. Cloud is becoming very prevalent. They’re going to store a lot of data in the cloud. They’ll outsource a lot of that data to the cloud. Automation of compliance is important.

Big data is already known to have pinpointed outbreaks of disease, and to map the potential risks for cancer in people depending on their genetic codes. But in general healthcare, the use of big data can have much more microcosmic purposes. The use of wearable technology is part of this equation. With personal, web-connected devices that patients can use and wear at home to send information to physicians elsewhere, a new network of communication is possible. This concept correlates directly with the internet of things, which has huge potential to revolutionize the healthcare industry as more mobile health applications and devices become available. While the internet of things is forecasted to impact nearly all of the enterprise sector by 2025, the healthcare industry could see an overhaul with the escalation of wearable devices and translating that usage into big data analytics. As healthcare professionals capture the data from mobile health software and devices, a broader understanding of patient needs could become clear.

As Singh noted, there will necessarily have to be an integration of modern technologies in order to properly harness big data. Cloud storage for the vast amounts of data, proper analytics to take advantage of the data, and a crossover with the new network for the internet of things.