We're seeing more healthcare organizations get serious about big data. Even in the boardroom, healthcare leaders are asking, “How can we use big data to help us improve outcomes?”
What's driving this trend? Other industries have benefitted enormously from big data; how do we in healthcare do the same? And most importantly, what do we need from big data to make it not just a promising technology, but a means towards affordable, patient-centric care?
Currently, healthcare organizations are struggling to get their heterogeneous data all in one place. They're battling to breakdown data silos and make all their information locked in patient records and other disparate systems available for analysis. And that’s just within a single hospital or system. While Healthcare Information Exchange projects have made a dent in the broader problem, they really haven’t solved the silo issue.
The problem is only becoming more urgent. Healthcare has become increasingly digitized; deploying EMRs and EHRs has created a flood of patient health records; new digital devices in hospitals monitor patients and provide analysis; and patients are using personal health devices to monitor conditions at home.
Every day, healthcare providers accumulate more data. That’s even more information locked away, inaccessible. At the same time, as payment plans change and the world focuses in on value-based care, there’s increasing pressure to make this crucial information actionable. With the need to look at episodes of care spanning multiple providers, the challenge increases by orders of magnitude. All this pressure, and we’re still stumbling on apparently easy starting points, such as quality and outcome reporting.
Enter big data. It turns out the HIE problem we’ve all been so keen to solve is actually a data-gathering problem. The fix is to get all your data in one system, one with the agility, capacity, and flexibility to work with all data types effectively – whether its electronic medical records, lab results, IoT device data, or even genomics information. But as soon as we even talk about gathering data into one place, we raise concerns about privacy, governance and security.
To meet the dual needs of protecting and sharing data, big data platforms must evolve. Now that healthcare organizations are seriously considering big data, privacy, governance and security have become the next roadblocks. In a survey of more than 3,000 global data and analytics decision-makers, Forrester found that “maturity of technology around security” tied for the biggest cited challenge impeding organizations from executing their "vision for big data.