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5 Things You Should Know About Big Data In Healthcare

July 29, 2019 No Comments

Featured article by Jonathan Clerk, Independent Technology Author

HealthTech Feature 920x518 300x168 5 Things You Should Know About Big Data In Healthcare

Big data is a relatively new term used to describe the collection of structured or unstructured complex data that inundates businesses on a daily basis.

Some of the main uses of big data is to uncover deep insights about an organization, and provide solutions to business-related problems that may have been impossible to uncover using more conventional analytics software.

Big data is also an evaluation tool which can be used to decode datasets in order to uncover patterns or trends with certain information.

In the healthcare industry in particular, big data relies on prescriptive, predictive and descriptive to dissect these hidden insights.

Although this provides the healthcare industry with several different benefits, many are reluctant to become frontrunners with this new innovation due to misunderstandings and a general lack of knowledge.

To combat this, we have put together a list of everything you need to know about big data in the healthcare industry.

It Compliments Artificial Intelligence 

If you know anything about healthcare innovations, you’ll know that artificial intelligence has become a big deal in the industry in the last decade or so.

In that time, it has gained interest from a number of different specialists spanning all sections of the industry, all wanting to use it to their advantage in some way.

With that being said, artificial intelligence alone could not perform all the functions the healthcare industry is demanding it does.

This is where big data comes in.

HealthcareWeekly explains using big data to identify patterns and trends across different types of healthcare data allows artificial intelligence to make crucial connections between different disorders and groups of people.

This could show us how conditions affect certain people, or prove that treatments for one condition could also benefit another.

Is Used In The Development Of New Drugs 

According to Digital Authority Partners, creating tailored drugs and therapies for complex and rare diseases currently costs the healthcare industry up to 2.6 billion per product or drug.

This is something that contributes to a lot of the healthcare deficits in the U.S. and also takes a lot of time to develop, leaving many people suffering from rare and complex disorders without effective treatment for far longer than necessary.

Using big data, however, the healthcare industry would find it easier to identify patterns in symptoms between different conditions a lot faster.

This would help group together people suffering from rare conditions, and would allow treatments and clinical trials to take place with less hold ups.

It can also be used to identify positive reactions to treatments for different conditions, giving the information necessary to have drugs approved for multiple uses at once.

With increased popularity, this could even lead to the time and technology to provide treatment options for complex conditions like Alzheimers and certain types of cancers.

Improves Patient Outcomes

The healthcare industry deals with more data on a daily basis than most others.

This makes it easy to overlook certain conditions and health ailments due to a lack of time or knowledge to decipher the vast amount of information collected about them.

Big data, however, could be used to uncover deep insights that help the industry to decipher this information in an efficient, easy to understand way.

It has already shown potential to do this with some stroke patients, and could improve patient outcomes by providing medical professionals with more information about symptoms and treatment.

In time, this could be used to decipher subsets of information about groups of people suffering from more complex conditions that have previously had little research.

With big data, it would also provide reassurance and allow the evaluation of current practices based on evidence of what works best for patients with said condition.

Reduces Miscellaneous Healthcare Costs

In addition to drug development, staffing issues can also put a big strain on costs in the healthcare industry.

This is largely due to oversight from executives that lead to ineffective management of staffing levels.

When done wrong, hospitals and other healthcare establishments are left with more or less staff than needed, which can put a big strain on finances.

With big data, however, it can be easy for healthcare executives to have access staff allocation.

This would allow executives to make crucial decisions about staff allocation in line with predicted admission rates on specific nights.

Popularization Could Improve Uptake Of Electronic Health Records

One of the biggest problems facing healthcare today is keeping track of all medical reports and charts.

In fact, they go missing so regularly that patients are forced to take duplicate tests to provide doctors and specialists with the full picture.

This can have a detrimental cost on the patient and healthcare provider, and can also be extremely time consuming for those working in the facilities themselves.

Electronic Health Records (EHR) began to be introduced as a way of solving this, but a 2016 study found that the uptake of this technology in primary care and hospital settings has been extremely low.

Despite this reluctance, EHR’s could solve a big issue in the industry as they use big data to identify trends and patterns in medical records, and keep all the information in one place. This becomes even more of an issue with the rise in popularity of what is called Software as a Medical Device (SAMD). SAMD protocols can collect individual data from various devices and pass that data to EHRs for doctors to act on (you can read more about it in this in-depth guide from Orthogonal).  Bottomline: so much data is available out there and it needs to be collected and interpreted at scale.

Hopefully, with more people beginning to understand the potential impact of big data in the healthcare industry, this should change in the next few years.


Big data might be considered a relatively new healthcare innovation in the industry, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the potential to become a staple in the industry.

In fact, big data is predicted to be such a big thing in healthcare that the market has been predicted to increase to over 30 billion dollars by 2025.

This means that healthcare facilities need to be educating themselves about the benefits now if they want to be seen as frontrunners in the industry.

With benefits like reducing healthcare costs and improving healthcare costs, ignoring this innovative technology is simply not something most facilities can afford to do.

About the Author

Jonathan Clerk is a world traveler, journalist and Chicago native. Since 2018, he’s been covering the business and tech world in Chicago at


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