Big data beginning to permeate healthcare sector

Several years ago, Richard Gilder, biostatistician of the Baylor Health Care System, was introduced to Clementine, according to The Dallas Morning News.

No, this isn't the beginning of a love story. Clementine was a data mining software with analytical capabilities that could provide unique insights. However, the cost to purchase one license was about $300,000, and only person would realistically have been able to use the technology. 

It's been several years since Gi​lder and Clementine first met, and the world of data analysis has been transformed since then. 

"It's not just visualization, it's sensualization," Gilder recently told The Dallas Morning News. "Things show up in ways that people can understand that they couldn't understand before."

Self-service analytics tools are beginning to become more prevalent – and affordable – and as a result, they're starting to spread throughout many different professions. One of those industries includes the healthcare sector, where providers have expressed a growing interest in big data

"You can have algorithms searching through enormous data sets looking for things that humans couldn't find," Gilder told the source. "They could reveal non-obvious links that could really change people's lives."

Benefits could be revolutionary
Big data and other analysis tools have been deemed revolutionary technologies for members of just about every industry. 

While that description might be over the top for some professionals, it's accurate when referring to healthcare providers. Organizations in this industry have a unique set of challenges, from meeting the requirements of new regulations to safeguarding their increasingly vulnerable networks. 

So how exactly could big data make a difference? A recent HIT Consultant Media article outlined several ways the technology could benefit the healthcare sector, such as boosting cost-efficiency.

Many providers are struggling to meet the demands of new legislation like the Affordable Care Act, which requires the implementation of electronic health record systems. With the help of advanced analytics solutions, these organizations can develop the most cost-efficient IT processes, thereby reducing operating costs substantially.

These tools also have the ability to improve patient care at both the macro and micro levels. As the HIT Consultant Media report noted, big data analytics can be used to identify general health concerns quickly, thus leading to a faster resolution.

On a smaller care, some organizations are using big data to enhance diagnostic capabilities. For instance, by comparing tumor cells with healthy ones, they can identify a condition faster, along with the best course of treatment. 

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