Lessons on big data from the healthcare sector

Healthcare providers have been collating big data long before we even knew it existed. Today, in certain controlled environments, technology allows for vast databases of detailed medical records to be digitised and analysed on a scale large enough to detect patterns invisible to the human eye.

At the same time, the healthcare sector is undergoing a fundamental cultural shift in which healthcare providers are paid for ensuring patients remain healthy rather than for a particular treatment or procedure. Big data analytics can help providers make this transition from a fee-for-service model to a value-based model.

However in making the transition, healthcare providers are encountering some important challenges: how do we organise the data we have, and how do we make impactful use of it? How do we collect and store highly sensitive data securely while making it available for data analytics? How do we make databases from different but related institutions talk to each other? And how is data in that federated environment managed and distributed effectively so that every data user has the same experience?

These are questions that the leaders of every business in every sector need to ask themselves before embarking on the big data journey.