Big data benefiting healthcare agencies in many ways

St. Dominic Hospital, a 535-bed structure in Jackson, Mississippi, was having trouble managing its rapidly growing patient and medical records. As a result, the hospital recently adopted big data analytics programs to organize its information, and has noticed significant benefits from the deployment

“We needed a ‘forever’ solution with unlimited scalability,” said Wendell Pinegar, applications supervisor at St. Dominic Hospital. “Meeting the explosive demands for growth was also a significant challenge so we also needed to simplify our overall storage environment.”

Pinegar said that through the use of the new software, the hospital will cut down 50 percent on annual IT costs and improve performance an estimated 1,000 percent, all while maintaining complete uptime. 

Big data analytics are not a brand-new technology, but the software has only recently become available to a wide range of companies. As a result, organizations across different industries are attempting to leverage big data’s untapped potential – including healthcare agencies. 

Speaking at the 2013 HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition, Mary Griskewicz, senior director of healthcare information systems at HIMSS, said that things like patient data and medical records could contain hidden gems for healthcare organizations

“It is really important to understand that as you go through healthcare transformation, you need the data,” Griskewicz said, according to Healthcare IT News. “You need the data to prove that you have better outcomes and to provide good patient care and at the same time to keep the lights on.”

Big data’s potential goes beyond cost savings
When company and IT leaders decide to implement new technologies, they typically focus the most on factors like cost-efficiency and improving worker productivity. However, a recent EMC study revealed that big data analytics may soon be able to help save lives, according to eWeek.

Because the Affordable Care Act is forcing organizations to move their databases online, the amount of information produced by healthcare technology systems is expected to explode. In fact, the EMC report found that healthcare data could triple between 2013 and 2016.

Rather than viewing this as a challenge, healthcare CIOs and IT professionals should look at it as an enormous opportunity. The EMC study found that the industry – through the use of big data analytics – will be able to detect diseases and improve medical research in the future. In addition, predictive analysis may also help doctors diagnose diseases and assess the chances a patient will have to return for treatment. 

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