Revolutionizing Healthcare with Big Data Analytics

The healthcare industry is experiencing a data explosion. Early projections indicated the volume of healthcare data generated by electronic health records, telehealth systems and other advances would grow by a factor of 50 between 2012 and 2020. More recent estimates put the annual growth of medical data alone at 48% each year.  The term Big Data is gaining traction as healthcare organizations realize massive amounts of data can be used to improve patient outcomes and reduce care costs. Their challenge is finding ways to unlock its benefits through big data analytics.     

 Sources: IDC, EMC Corporation, SAP.

Sources: IDC, EMC Corporation, SAP.

The Value of Big Data Analytics in Healthcare

Big data is all about delivering big insights. Big data technologies ingest information from disparate sources and analyze it to reveal patterns. Though data analytics in businesses isn’t new, what is different about big data is increased volume, velocity and variety. Data analytics at the big data level reveals trends that would not be uncovered any other way.

For healthcare providers, big data can not only show ways to increase profitability and improve operational efficiency; it also has the potential to directly improve people's well-being. The upsurge in telehealth systems is one example. By leveraging the Internet of Things and big data analytics, telehealth is expanding care reach and personalization for better healthcare outcomes. By 2021, the telehealth market is projected to total $9.35 billion.

In the public health arena, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses big data to track disease outbreaks and forecast potential epidemics. Its big data program integrates multiple types of data such as population data, health statistics and population migration. With big data analytics, CDC can recommend proactive strategies that governments and healthcare providers can implement to help prevent and control diseases of all types.

Other common use cases for big data analytics in healthcare include:

  • Sharing and analysis of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) to reduce duplication in care, reduce costs and improve patient outcomes.

  • Faster and more accurate diagnoses using evidence-based medicine, which has big data at its foundation.

  • Streamlining healthcare delivery through big data analytics in health practices and networks.

  • Detecting and preventing patient identity theft.

Skills Gap & Security: Two Barriers to Big Data in Healthcare

Though healthcare leaders are eager to access the value of big data analytics, their organizations face some hurdles with implementation. First, big data analytics is not simply data analytics on steroids. With big data’s raw format and unstructured nature, it’s unlike traditional database systems. As a result, healthcare IT departments require new skill sets beyond SQL programming languages. These skills are in short supply. In addition, big data involves different security concerns, which many organizations find challenging to manage.

Talend: A Proven Tool for Big Data in Healthcare

In today’s healthcare environment, data is widely spread across on-premise systems, cloud applications, customers and partners, medical device and wellness sensors, and the Internet of Things. Talend is a market-leading technology tool for integrating structured and unstructured data in order to leverage big data analytics. Organizations of all sizes across the healthcare spectrum are using Talend to become more data-driven.

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The Revolution Continues

The incredible growth of data in healthcare, and the technologies to integrate, analyze and effectively use it, continue to transform the industry. For many organizations, digital transformation has become table stakes, while top performers push their technology to new levels. The value of big data – and its lower cost of ownership – make it a prevailing strategy in healthcare today.