For healthcare, big data could mean greater efficiency

Hospitals and other healthcare providers have lots of information to manage for successful care: to keep up with the industry, the means of accessing and running applications should also be built based on IT goals and current technological infrastructure. Thomas Jefferson University's School of Population Health's director of health policy, Drew Harris, referred to the implications of harnessing big data for healthcare companies.

In an article for the Wall Street Journal, Harris refers to a coming "torrent of data" that will parallel advances in health monitoring technology. The massive wealth of available health information will, as Harris describes, enable medical professionals to track the effectiveness of drugs and give patients care that matches their specific needs.

During the process of adopting new technology, Harris notes that the everyday work of a physician will likely have to shift as technology improves and data analytics systems evolve.

"The very role of the physician will change from diagnostician to implementer, manager, facilitator and guide," he writes. "The machines will rank diagnosis and treatment by likelihood and doctors will use their knowledge and expertise to review and amend." He also adds that electronic medical records will contribute to public efforts in the future to report diseases and monitor health data.

According to information from HIMSS Analytics, the number of healthcare organizations that use a clinical analytics and business intelligence solutions has grown by six percent over the past two years. More than half of the organizations polled for an intelligence study this year have said they currently use one of these solutions through an electronic health record vendor.

For a legacy system modernization strategy, healthcare IT specialists should adopt an easy-to-use solution that brings mainframe functionality to the new systems they will be using. If data use is primed to increase, this could be especially important for managing new information.