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CIO explains the importance and meaning of big data to healthcare


Recently, I got to hear a healthcare CIO talk about big data in general and what it means for healthcare in particular. This leader not only believes in big data, but claims that big data will move from “differentiating healthcare organizations to table stakes.” When asked why, he said the reason is simple: “We are in the business of creating the highest value care. And big data is fundamentally about serving our patients better than we do today. And everyone in healthcare will have to do it.”


The next question for this CIO was how he defines big data. He answered first by defining what he calls small data. He said small data is single-source, often batch-processed, and locally managed. So what is big data? It is multi-source, requires connecting between data sources, multi-structured (structured and unstructured), real time, and uses information in aggregate. It aims to establish the model from the data versus creating a well-defined data model. It is about finding data relationships rather than creating data relationships. This is a huge difference from traditional business intelligence (BI), which is best implemented when there is a level of determinism to the data and data model.

So what are some of the interesting things they have found in healthcare from big data analysis? People with higher pain scores then to crash more. Scary! And credit scores, of all things, tell you whether patients will take their medicine. I found this particularly interesting, because several years ago, I got to work with Intuit. They had identified a persona for those that were meticulous with their finances. They called them **bleep**-retentives. So big data has determined that **bleep**-retentives take their medicine. Amazing! And what a great definition of big data.


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Solution page: Big Data

Twitter: @MylesSuer

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About the Author


Mr. Suer is a senior manager for IT Performance Management. Prior to this role, Mr. Suer headed IT Performance Management Analytics Product Management including IT Financial Management and Executive Scorecard.

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