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Why Healthcare is Adapting Big Data so Aggressively

Healthcare has always been rich for data generation. After all, it is the only industry having great amount of data. The volume and variety of data gave a thought to invent something that can manage these stuff. And than, Big data came into existence. It’s not only big but a bigger – more than ever imagined.

The evolution in data generation started from the smartphones. Applications empowered them to be used for all precautionary purpose right from pedometers, to calculate walk distance and calorie intake, to set a diet plan. A huge number of us are presently making best use of this innovation to help us live healthy life. Moreover, a flow of wearable gadgets have come up such as Fitbit, Jawbone and more that enables to upload your progress data to compare it with the entire community.

The demand of doctors and physicians against their availability is a bigger issue. Moreover, to avoid medical malpractice, access to knowledge about laws and expert advice should be in reach. In the meantime, a law – HIPAA is framed to make it easier for people to keep health insurance and secure patient’s sensitive data.

There are few wearables and smart machines which are now implemented to send respective readings to more than one receiver. Though we have successfully eliminated latencies with other advanced alternatives, however the insight for its best application is yet to be figured out.

  1. Treatments that can prove best for one patient, may not work upto the mark for another.
  2. Interventions are tough to track whether it has been benefited to the patient or not.
  3. Suggestions to the physicians is difficult to reach out at right time.

As mentioned, healthcare is surely a data-rich industry but is poor in terms of potential information. Uncountable data is available from which is difficult to filter the accurate information required in certain circumstances. From this, it is obvious to look around for ways that can allow quick access to precised information on a larger scale.

The major challenge is all the healthcare data is available but there is no such system to determine how to harness these lot of data.

Big data comprises of information that about routine medical activities like doctors’ suggestion, clinical history, medical insurances, drug information. Additionally new data generated from social media, forums and hosted sites along with machine data.

Big Data is not just about volume. It covers three dimension of data for healthcare :

  • Volume: Megabytes to Terabytes to Petabytes
  • Velocity: Highly unpredictable data generation
  • Variety: Variety of formats with different standards.

Since the inception of Big Data, there have been a new technology innovation with each passing day. Various data environments along with Hadoop and columnar database were brought into existence for harnessing the data.

To understand the functions from user’s perspective let’s explore real time scenario. Here’s example how it works : Kitty approaches her physician for annual health report

Patient Report

With the help of Big Data and cloud, Kitty’s physician Dr. Joseph has all her medical history as shown in above patient report. Kitty mentions to Dr. Joseph that – she has been travelling a lot, eating out and not exercising regularly. Dr Joseph’s notes down various observations such as increase in HbA1c levels and more. After the examination Dr. Joseph notes down further concerns of Kitty in her EHR.

Medical History

Kitty is excited to receive remedies for her health concerns and provides permission to her care team for accessing relevant data. She also joins a gym nearby her home and further connects with a dietician. At gym, a trainer reviews Kitty’s vital signs and other relevant healthcare data she has allowed to share.

The outcomes from Big data analysis of Kitty helps the trainer to set a fitness program which is compatible with her requirement. Trainer suggests Kitty to download the app and start her health activity. Dr. Joseph monitors Kitty’s activity and send his endorsement.


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