Big data’s potential drives healthcare spending for epidemiology and genomes

Big data has shown enormous potential in the healthcare industry and enterprises are beginning to respond. According to the latest study released by TechNavio, the global big data market in the healthcare sector is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 32.96 percent through 2015.

Researchers found that one of the major drivers behind the market growth has been increased access to data. The advent of electronic health records and the federal government's push to standardize their usage has resulted in more organizations obtaining the information needed to launch a successful data analytics program. The study also discovered that more medical professionals were deploying analytics tools to enhance their epidemiology research efforts and uncover new insights into the patterns and causes of various ailments.

More sophisticated tools lead to greater insights
The potential for data analytics to improve patient care and save lives has fostered excitement from many within the medical community. Computerworld reported that analytics tools like Hadoop big data solutions can potentially process both structured and unstructured data to help physicians create more effective treatment practices. Analytics software has been able to crunch structured data for years, as anything contained in a digital format is essentially fair game. In contrast, unstructured data such as handwritten physician notes and medical charts has presented more challenges. However, the technology is quickly developing and many researchers have already made gains processing unstructured data. Once analytics tools can process digital and physical data with equal ease, members of the medical community expect the real promise of healthcare big data will be fulfilled.

"With big data, what happens in a doctor's office is going to be vastly different from what we see today," Robert Walker, director of health innovation for the U.S. Army Surgeon General, told the news outlet. "The top five or 10 things that people die from in America are life-style induced. That's absurd. Maybe instead of vital signs, I'm just going to look at what you buy in a grocery store."

Deciphering the human genome
Medical researchers are particularly excited about the potential for big data tools to help prevent genetic diseases. The costs of mapping out an individual's genetic code is rapidly dropping. Once those expenses have fallen to an acceptable levels, hospitals could conceivable use big data tools to identify flaws in a person's genetic code that could suggest the development of diseases such as Alzheimer's later in life. 

For now, healthcare researchers are busy leveraging big data tools with a variety of resources including genetics analytics to provide better treatment any way they can. For instance, data analytics tools can comb through a number of factors to determine how patients will react to certain courses of treatment, providing physicians with an additional layer of support that could prevent costly errors from being made. The more Hadoop big data tools mature, the greater resources physicians have for improving patient care and fighting disease.

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