What If The Cure Was In The Data You Threw Away?

By David Friend, CEO, Wasabi.

David Friend

Hospitals and healthcare systems are benefitting from unprecedented innovation in information technology, helping improve everything from facility operations to patient care. But with these advancements come massive amounts of data—clinical research, digital imaging, and other patient data—that are taxing IT’s ability to cost-effectively manage and store in way that is secure, compliant, and always accessible.

Between the introduction of smart connected medical devices, plummeting costs of genome sequencing, and increasingly higher-resolution medical imaging, we are generating a wealth of information that is too expensive to store, yet too valuable—and, in many cases, unlawful—to throw away. Analysts from IDC predict that healthcare data will reach 2.3 zettabytes (ZB) by 2020. Imagine the discoveries that await, if only there was an affordable way to store it all.

Connected Medical Devices Mean Better Care, nd More Data To Store

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, within the next three years, 40% of the projected $117 billion IoT industry will be related to healthcare. The IoMT will generate exabytes of additional data, a portion of which compliance regulations will mandate you save.  But what if we could store it all? What breakthroughs await when the power of analytics and machine learning are unleashed on vast archives of medical data?

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

Real-time diagnostic data from connected medical equipment and home-health wearables promises to revolutionize medicine. Patients with long-term or chronic conditions can be monitored from the comfort of their homes. Instant access to information will speed diagnoses and response times. But perhaps the greatest potential of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) lies in the ability to save and analyze all the data these interconnected devices will generate over time.

Medical Imaging and Records

Hospitals and healthcare facilities are drowning in data as highly sensitive cameras, light wave and electron microscopy, and new modalities like 3D mammography and ultrasonic holography produce higher resolutions and larger file sizes. Many organizations adopt a “save everything” approach to ensure compliance with complicated regulations. To mitigate the high cost of storing all this data, complicated storage tiers and data lifecycle management solutions are implemented. But trying to figure out what doctors and researchers need access to on a regular basis and what can safely go into cold storage makes these complicated tiering strategies even more complex … and expensive.

Genomics

Human genome sequencing is helping usher in an era of highly individualized medicine. With sequencing data in hand, healthcare professionals can accurately predict which medications will be most effective for a particular patient – and which will not.

But a single human genome takes up to 100 GB of storage space. By 2025, an estimated 40 exabytes of capacity will be required to store human genome data. Not knowing when a given patient’s genome data will be needed, healthcare providers can’t simply relegate inactive data to tape or other second- or third-tier options. They need to know they can get at any patient’s data when they need it.

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