Big Data in Healthcare


Big Data is a disruptive technology. It is changing major industries from the inside. In the next posts, we will learn how Big Data changes different industries.

Today’s focus: Big Data for Healthcare.

Big Data offers several benefits for the healthcare industry. Decoding the human genome was one of the first Big Data applications in IT. It took years to decode the DNA sequence the first time, nowadays it is a matter of hours! This gives entirely new approaches to research in the health industry, enabled by Big Data algorithms.

However, Big Data in healthcare is not only about decoding the DNA. There are several other benefits. Analyzing data brings large benefits to illnesses we don’t know enough yet. There is a large number of chronic illnesses where doctors are still not sure where they come from and how to best treat them. This can be done by collecting large amounts of data from a specific illness and compare it on a broad base with different factors. However, it is necessary to keep the data anonymous and respect the data rights and privacy of individuals. The target should be to improve the healthcare.

Another benefit of Big Data in Healthcare is about medical devices. There are a large number of devices today that are used in the healthcare environment. Outages of these devices are often a problem, as they are always connected to very important functions. When a device that is used for analysis has an outage, problems will occur. It is either necessary to have more of the same devices in case of a failure or to simply wait for the devices to come back. In recent years, I had several projects in the predictive maintenance area, where Big Data analytics were integrated to improve the stability of devices and to predict when a failure might occur. I saw several companies that could reduce the time a device “stands still” from several days to only hours by applying such algorithms.

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Published by

Mario Meir-Huber

I work as Big Data Architect for Microsoft. With this role, I support my customers in applying Big Data technologies - mainly Hadoop/Spark - for their use-cases. I also teach this topic at various universities and frequently speak at various Conferences. In 2010 I wrote a book about Cloud Computing, which is often used at German & Austrian Universities. In my home country (Austria) I am part of several organisations on Big Data.

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