Looking to 2014: Digging into Big Data

big-data-healthcareIt’s hard to remember a time when Big Data wasn’t all the rage; it’s harder still to believe that we’ve barely reached the tip of the iceberg with its potential. The healthcare industry has made strides with managing the patient data it’s collecting, yet there’s still so much more that both providers and their vendor partners can be doing to leverage Big Data to improve patient care. While we’ve established a foothold, here’s where I think we’re heading next year.

  • A revolution will change how we address population health – A hot topic for the past couple of years, population health management can finally become a reality given the quantity and improved quality of data available. But as the conversation has centered on what we do with data, there’s going to be a shift to discussing how we iterate technology in parallel to enable better care around identified patient needs and populations. In this cycle, data creates the evidence base for both individual patient and population health needs and indicates technology development opportunities.
  • Partners must move beyond collecting data to providing intelligent insights – Collecting and displaying data has proven invaluable across the healthcare industry so physicians can react quickly and provide more informed care. The next phase is for data processing tools to recognize patterns and abnormalities in the data to push alerts to clinicians when high-risk situations may begin to appear. Clinical decision support intelligence in real time is critical to safe and efficient patient care.
  • Health systems must be able to maximize their existing investments in technology – The amount of money already spent on technology infrastructures within hospitals and health systems is enormous. As the industry continues to consolidate, providers will be looking for new tools that enable them to maximize their existing infrastructure to reduce the amount of investment needed to overhaul competing systems. The key word will be integration. Providers who can leverage data from existing EMRs and siloed solutions while avoiding switching and replacement costs will be the victors.