Big Data Analytics, Big Benefits for Healthcare

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Big-Data-HealthcareFederal agencies have great expectations for how big data analytics can improve healthcare, but are they doing enough to prepare to take advantage of big data? A MeritTalk survey of 150 federal executives involved in healthcare or healthcare research reveals that 62% of those surveyed believe that big data will significantly improve patient outcomes for the Veterans Administration and those receiving military health services.

However, the survey found room for improvement in the actual delivery of big data projects within those organizations. Less than one in five survey respondents said that their agency was “very prepared” to work with big data. Only about a third of those surveyed had actually launched a big data initiative. Similarly, fewer than a third of respondents (29%) had educated senior management about big data. The same proportion (29%) reported that they have IT staff trained to manage and analyze big data. (For additional details, see MeritTalk’s infographic called “The Big Data Cure.”)

One of the issues that arises when contemplating big data projects is the skills gap between the resources that an organization has now and what they think they will need. This skills gap can be addressed in more than one way. By using SQL-on-Hadoop tools like those offered by Hadapt, Hive, SpliceMachine, BigSQL, and others, business analysts may access big data using SQL. This means these agencies can take advantage of the capabilities already within their organizations.

While the survey was limited to those in the Federal space, it’s clear that the trend towards big data analytics applies to more than just the government and military side of healthcare. Modern medicine creates a large and growing stream of data about patient care and treatment outcomes. This data is not all neatly arranged, and harnessing it will require the sorts of analytical approaches that SQL-on-Hadoop solutions are well positioned to address.


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