WBB's Thought Leadership

Big Data Needs Integrated Approach in Healthcare

June 27

IT and Data executives at hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and research organizations need to take an integrated approach to data collection and management to make use of real-time data and forecasting methods.

Excerpt: “Data is the lifeblood of any business. And while advances in machine learning have been revolutionizing almost every industry, some have lagged behind due to technical constraints. Healthcare and life sciences rely on information, but when it comes to data, many professionals in this arena are stuck with legacy technologies when conducting their research.

“As John Brownstein, Director of the Computational Epidemiology Group at the Boston Children’s Hospital put it, ‘We’re missing the data, we’re missing the realtime information, we’re missing the forecasting methods. And we’re missing the consumer tools that feed back to the patient to inform us about what’s happening around us.’ The good news is a recent wave of data innovation has been gaining momentum in these industries, with industry veterans, and technology partners developing solutions that are disrupting every layer of the healthcare system.”

“Gaurav Tripathi, CTO at Innoplexus, a data analytics firm that caters to the life sciences explained that the industry was in need of, ‘a transformation in the nature of their research through a more interdisciplinary approach. Researchers in the industry are moving away from an exclusive approach to data and toward a more open and scientific approach. This innovation is fueling a growing exchange of techniques and meshing of related technologies.’”

“This integrated approach is being fueled by tech companies that are helping the industry make use of machine learning to make data more useful. Big data does very little for an organization if it doesn’t know how to make use of it. That’s why IT and Data executives at hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and research organizations, have turned to data firms to help rethink the existing approach to data collection and management.”


WBB Take: While it is true that “data is the lifeblood of any business”, many organizations lack the organizational structures, business processes, and data skills to put their data to use in an effective way. Big data makes these gaps even more critical, and often exposes vulnerabilities that reduce organizations ability to achieve business goals.

For organizations to use data to provide operational support, business forecasting, and process conformance auditing, they need to establish organizational structures that are responsible for data acquisition, curation, and security. These organizational groups will need to put repeatable processes in place for data cleaning, processing, and distribution, and will require the tools to perform these tasks.

WBB has observed cases where large data sets went unused because there was no team responsible for curating it, the data set was too large to be handled and cleaned in regularly deployed tools such as Excel and Access, and it was unclear who was to have access to the data, and how it would be used as part of their business processes. As a result, there were missed opportunities, and the users did not realize the benefit of the data.

Cited by Matthew Loxton



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