Lorraine Lawson writes:
'Oracle recently released a report noting, among other things, that healthcare isn’t prepared to manage Big Data. That’s hardly shocking, since healthcare seems largely inept at managing any data, much less Big Data, which is generally defined as having one or more of these characteristics:
* Variety, meaning structured, semi-structured and unstructured data
* Velocity, meaning you want it moved at high speeds
* Volume, think petabytes and terabytes
Maybe health care IT doesn’t have a data problem so much as it has a Big Data problem.
What do I mean? Well, most health care records actually fall into the domain of Big Data more than your typical, relational database kind of data. Specifically:
* Most health care records are actually unstructured data, e.g., text documents or images. Doctor’s notes on patients, nurse’s care plans, lab results, x-rays and MRI results all fall well outside the domain of structured data. I
* Health care data is often high volume, particularly when you’re talking about a state or national electronic health records system. What’s more, when you deal with images, like x-rays or other scans, you’re increasing the data’s volume in terms of storage requirements.
* Finally, most health care records need to be moved relatively quickly, and as individual records. So, if I’m having a consult tomorrow with a surgeon, then the x-rays need to be at the office by morning.
It looks like there’s a clear use case for Big Data technologies in health care.
In fact, if I may be so bold, maybe health care’s data problems are not entirely caused by niche vendors, data silos and a lack of investment.
Maybe the reason health care IT is such a mess is because the existing tools couldn’t handle Big Data needs in an affordable way.
Via Andrew Spong