Hadoop tools benefit medical IT

Hadoop big data tools can provide healthcare providers with numerous benefits both by enhancing patient care and driving down operational expenses. With the current state of healthcare costs in the United States, this should come as a welcome relief. According to analysis conducted by Aon Hewitt, the average healthcare premium increases are predicted to rise by 6.3 percent in 2013, bringing the average health plan premium cost for each employee to $11,188. With these rising costs showing no signs of abating, there has never been a more pressing need for the cost-saving applications of data analytics.

Charles Boicey, a member of the IT team at the University of California – Irvine Medical Center, recently spoke to eWeek about his organization's successful implementation of Hadoop architecture. Boicey was intrigued by the technology's ability to provide superior data analytics functions with little to no latency. Seeing an opportunity to deploy these resources using the medical center's extensive electronic records-keeping systems, Boicey began integrating a Hadoop Apache framework to glean actionable insight.

When considering his options for big data platforms, Boicey needed a framework that provided an open-source platform without intrusive and needlessly expensive proprietary features. He found his solution in Hortonworks' Hadoop big data tools, which offered the flexibility researchers would need to create their custom applications.

Once the framework was in place, researchers were able to pull data from a wide variety of  sources, including electronic medical records, financial data and even building ventilator sensors. The medical center's 20-year backlog of legacy data covering 1.2 million patients and more than 9 million records was also made available. Boicey and his staff could gather and process both structured and unstructured data types with the Hadoop platform.

Researchers at the medical center have already begun to leverage their resources into actionable results. They have established a data analytics-based feedback loop that has allowed hospital staff to gain insight into the concerns of their patients and improve the hospital experience accordingly.

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