Big data is a big problem in the healthcare industry. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and the ongoing shift away from fee-for-service payment systems and toward value-based care, healthcare organizations are becoming much more data-driven. Healthcare organizations all together hold nearly one billion terabytes of data, between clinical records, health research records and business operations records. A billion terabytes is a large amount of data to store, let alone try to organize for end user consumption. To put it in perspective, a single terabyte could hold 1,000 copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Ten terabytes could hold the printed collection of the Library of Congress. Simply put, one billion terabytes is a massive amount of data.
A report by Frost & Sullivan predicts that healthcare organizations will have 40 times the amount of data by 2020. While this data is being hailed as the key to improving health outcomes and reducing healthcare costs, the sheer volume of data is so overwhelming that most organizations are unable to take full advantage of it with their current resources. Managing and harnessing the analytical power of these large datasets, however, is vital to the success of all healthcare organizations, and driving proactive and preventative health by better engaging patients and customizing their care.