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Can healthcare big data reality live up to its promise?

Brian Eastwood | Aug. 16, 2013
If any industry's ready to reap the benefits of analyzing reams of data from disparate sources, it's healthcare. But just because there's a will doesn't necessarily mean there's an easy way.

Down the line, as the ACO model and coordinated care expand, organizations will increasingly see the need to examine unstructured data, sentiment analysis and other data sources-including, perhaps, predictive intelligence and the mix of clinical and business intelligence-in the context of the patient encounter and clinical decision support systems, she adds.

To the challenges presented by such advanced analytics, Burghard says healthcare providers will "need fairly sophisticated people to leverage [data] warehouses and take advantage of what [they] invested in," and those who can afford neither a data warehouse nor the staff to manage them may find themselves pressured to consolidate or join larger integrated delivery networks.

This will disrupt the industry, no doubt. But in the end, having more data on hand-and being able to use it-will also improve the industry. "The adage 'You cannot manage what you cannot measure' applies to accountable care," Burghard writes in her report. "In the 1990s, healthcare organizations lacked an understanding of the critical nature of patient compliance in the management of chronic diseases; the industry is better informed today and is investing in technology to share data among payers, physicians, and patients to improve outcomes."


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