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Big Data and Healthcare: a Lifesaving Match

Rare diseases can have little-known warning signs. Wouldn't it be great if there was a way to sift through ordinary patient data and identify early risk factors, particularly for populations like children who may not be able to accurately report symptoms?

The Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research has done just that, using Big Data to help prevent blindness in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. But what exactly is Big Data?

Big Data - a term that is often capitalized - refers to how we work with datasets that are so big or complex, traditional methods of analysis have difficulty processing them. Modern IT tools allow organizations to collect large volumes and varieties of data at unprecedented speeds. This includes everything from clinical data, financial transactions, RFID tags, and a whole lot of unstructured text, video, audio, social media, and emails. How can all of this data be stored, processed, verified, integrated? Not to mention analyzed and put to practical use, for example, to identify trends and important variables? Big Data can help.

Large datasets are more effectively processed with AI tools and machine learning algorithms, revealing trends and associations in human behavior. These types of insights can lead to better strategy, more effective decision making, and improved operations.

In healthcare, Big Data can be particularly important in:

  • Managing large amounts of healthcare data from electronic health records, wearable technologies, smart implants, and mobile applications;
  • Re-mediating growing health care costs (see Healthcare Waste: What can IT do?);
  • Call centers, emails, and patient portals can be better managed to give consumers more options and greater satisfaction in their interactions;
  • many people will need clinical care, and in which areas?Identifying the likelihood of a specific event occurring. How bad will this year's flu season be? How

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Big Data can help your organization streamline operations and deliver more efficient services. If you are interested in learning more about how big data can be put to work for you, contact the computer scientists and XorFox for a free consultation.

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