Big Data entering Health CareTuesday, July 24th, 2012 by Roberto Saracco
The ever growing digitalization of health care, the monitoring of in and out patients through sensors, epidemic data and the mass sequencing of genome is generating a deluge of data that now are in the process of being used.
A paper published by Cloud Computing News provides an overview of todays pilot use of big data in various aspects of the Health Care world. It makes for an interesting reading.
1. The approach to genome understanding and identification of genome based causes for a disease are rapidly moving to the big data approach. As more and more genomes are available a statistic analyses of the differences is more effective than a study to understand the meaning (impact) of specific variations.
2. Terabytes of data are more likely to hide information than to make it visible, unless those terabytes are converted into graphic images that can convey meaning at first glance. This is what is being done at the Seattle’s Children Hospital and the improved understanding has resulted in better health care and lower cost, estimated in 3 million $ savings per year.
3. Semantic analyses of patients records allow doctors to consider thousand of records to improve their diagnoses, something that would be impossible if the doctor has to read the records one by one.
4. Analyses of adverse effects created by the use of different drugs becomes possible looking at millions of patients records: fast cheap and effective.
5. Medical consultancy can happen by giving a doctor the possibility to interrogate a giant data base, using natural language to initiate a massive search and analyses of medical records.
6. Early diagnoses become possible by understanding subtle symptoms and that may require the correlation of huge amount of data.
7. The data may comprises information gee rated by people on variety of forums, people reporting on the effectiveness of a cure, on side effects, on symptoms. Crowdsourcing is just started to be applied to health care and already seems very promising.
No wonder then that a new type of health care professional is emerging: the Data Scientist in Residence. That is exactly the position that Alliance Health Networks has added in May 2012 to its organization!