Healthcare big data is a big story, and it’s only going to continue being one. It’s a story I like and am intrigued by, but it’s not very sexy. Because of this, the only pieces of information about it seems to be very technical.
Until we actually see how big data changes lives, there’s just not going to be warm and fuzzy stories about it. So, cold and technical it is; nonetheless, I’m still fascinated.
In searching information about the subject, because I too want to know more from a ground floor level, it was nice to come across a nice piece about big data on the Cleveland Clinic’s website.
So, getting right into it, here’s an interesting piece of trivia about healthcare big data directly from the Clinic: “The amount of data collected each day dwarfs human comprehension and even brings most computing programs to a quick standstill. It is estimated that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created daily, so much that 90 percent of the data in the world has been created in the last two years.”
Healthcare big data is essentially large amounts of data that’s difficult to manipulate using standard, typical databases. Essentially, big data is very large pieces of information that ultimately, when captured can analyzed, dissected and used to monitor segments within a given sect.
Healthcare big data, it is thought, is what will drive change in care outcomes. What’s interesting, though, is that even though there’s a tremendous amount of data available for use, it’s just not being collected in a structured manner.
Collecting structured data is a must if we are going to begin putting some muscle to the bone of the new healthcare ecosphere we’re putting in place. You don’t have to take my word for it; IDC Health Insights research director Judy Hanover spoke of the same subject recently here.
But, to prove my position, I’ll let Cleveland Clinic make the point: “Unfortunately, not enough of this deluge of big data sets has been systematically collected and stored, and therefore this valuable information has not been aggregated, analyzed or made available in a format to be readily accessed to improve healthcare.”
Also according to the Clinic, if all of the data currently available were used and analyzed, it would be worth about $300 billion a year, reducing “healthcare expenditures by almost 8 percent.”
At the heart of healthcare big data is the hope that it can eventually help providers become predictors. Essentially, big data is like a big crystal ball, or so it’s been said.
According to Cleveland Clinic: “In this way, analytics can be applied to better hospital operations, track outcomes for clinical and surgical procedures, including length of stay, re-admission rates, infection rates, mortality, and co-morbidity prevention. It can also be used to benchmark effectiveness-to-cost models.”
Predictive analytics: That’s what it’s all about.
With all of the attention being given big data and warnings about being prepared for big data so it doesn’t sneak up on you – like meaningful use and ICD-10 – are valid and should be taken seriously.
Efforts are currently underway and available for big data processing and by managing data, “This dynamic data management technology makes data analysis more efficient and useful. Access to these data can also significantly shorten the time needed to track patterns of care and outcomes, and generate new knowledge. By leveraging this knowledge, leaders can dramatically improve safety, research, quality, and cost efficiency, all of which are critical factors necessary to facilitate healthcare reform,” writes Cleveland Clinic.
Big data is a catalyst for change, and without sounding caustic, will be a bigger deal than electronic health records currently are. Without a commitment to it, practices and healthcare systems will be left behind.