Putting the word “big” in front of something can carry a number of really negative connotations — Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, Big Oil, etc. It implies there is this great construct that controls all of these facets leaving us, i.e. the little guys, in the dust.
Big data, on the other hand, is helping the medical industry make amazing and unparalleled strides in treatment techniques, drug trials, and other areas that rely heavily on large amounts of data to be successful. What role does big data play in hospitals and emergency rooms?
What is Big Data?
In a nutshell, big data is defined as a collection of data from both traditional — see: hardcopy — and digital sources. This data pool is a font of information for anyone looking to connect the dots, inspire new innovations, or create new discoveries.
In the case of hospitals and emergency departments, the big data is patient records — diagnoses, treatment plans, drug dosages and many more pieces of information that individually might not seem significant, but as a whole can paint a big picture that can lead to new ways to save lives.
Big data typically comes in two forms:
How Does Big Data Work in Hospitals and Emergency Rooms?
If big data allows doctors and researchers to consolidate information from multiple sources into one cohesive, researchable whole, what benefits can that have for the environments in which they are used? Here are a few:
What Problems Could Big Data Present?
With any new technology, there is always the potential to run into bugs or ghosts in the machine, and that is one of the things that worries even the strongest supporters for big data in the medical industry. Already, hackers have started targeting medical data because the breaches are harder to track and the payout much more lucrative.
Incorporating more and more information-based technologies will require a much more vigilant stance when it comes to medical information security.
While it has the potential to do great good, bringing big data into hospitals, emergency rooms and other medical venues has its risks as well. Overall, though, the potential good vastly outweighs the potential harm. We can only wait and see what amazing new medical breakthroughs this information will bring.
Image by Anthony Delanoix
Kayla Matthews is a writer covering big data and cybersecurity for websites like CloudTweaks SandHill and VMBlog.
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