Tag: Measles Epidemic

Measles Epidemic Exposes Performance Gaps In U.S., Global Health Data Analytics

Measles continues to spread in the United States as health officials seek to stem the worst outbreak of the disease in decades. More than 700 cases have now been reported, about half if them involving children under the age of five.1

James D’Arezzo

James D’Arezzo, CEO of Condusiv Technologies, says, “It is the job of our healthcare database networks to map a situation like this in order to help caregivers control it.” D’Arezzo, whose company is the world leader in I/O reduction and SQL database performance, adds, “Unfortunately, some pieces of this network are missing, and a number of others don’t work very well.”

Experts in the field agree. According to a recent report by team of scientists led by the National Institute of Health, while analysis of data derived from electronic health records, social media and other sources has the potential to provide more timely and detailed information on infectious disease outbreaks than traditional methods, there are significant challenges to be overcome. Big data offers a “tantalizing opportunity” to predict and track infectious outbreaks, but healthcare’s ability to use it for such purposes is decades behind that of fields like climatology and marketing.2

Nonetheless, progress in data sharing has been made. State, local, and territorial health departments now have access to healthcare-associated infections data reported in their jurisdictions to the Center for Disease Control’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia now use NHSN for that purpose.3

However, D’Arezzo notes, this data has its origins in a multiplicity of far-flung healthcare organization IT systems. To be usable, it must be pulled together through millions of individual input-output (I/O) operations. The system’s analytic capability is dependent on the efficiency of those operations, which in turn is dependent on the efficiency of the computer’s operating environment. The most widely used operating system, Microsoft Windows, is in many ways the least efficient; the average Windows-based system pays a 30 percent to 40 percent penalty in overall throughput capability due to I/O degradation.4

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