Big Data in the Healthcare industry

To Define the term…Big Data Is data that is so huge and vast it is difficult to understand and process. It is used across a variety of businesses including retail and banking. Its role in these sectors is to track customer spending and look at trends and patterns of consumers in which the company can better target their customers and make the most of having this information about consumers. This benefits both the business and consumer satisfaction. Health big data is the term used for the databases associated with the healthcare industry. It’s beneficial to the industry as it improves care and outcomes of patients, increases patient security, can bring useful information to create and improve health policies as well as eliminating unnecessary costs and burdens to the healthcare industry. It can be used by employees to foresee ongoing patterns and trends amongst people’s health, what potential risk factors patients have in common allowing better preventative care and improved targeted treatment. Organisations are using big data to collect patient information which can potentially contribute to building sustainable healthcare systems and increasing access to healthcare.

The Soon Chun Hyang Hospital in South Korea is an excellent example of where Health big data has been beneficial and successful. As the number of patients continued to rise, there was an increased need for efficiency meaning the time used for administration, processing test results and transferring patients needed to be greatly reduced in order for this to happen. The hospital believed that by having medical documentation on file such as X-rays meant they could continue to provide good service and care to patrons as different doctors would be able to access the results quickly and easily. Before the use of a big data system, the hospital used several IT systems in which employees had the tedious, time consuming job of loading patient information and data onto. These systems included Electronic Medical Records (EDM), electronic payment systems and Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS).

As the Hospital worked with IBM Technologies, a system was produced which combined all of these individual systems into one single datacentre. This had huge benefits for staff as well as patients as now the hospital can prepare data 95% faster which improves overall efficiency, lowering overall operating costs by 40%. By using a data system this also reduces the concern of potentially misplacing the original hard copy of the file or set of information.

This case study reflects the benefits of big data and the way in which it can be used to assist a company. I think this is a really great benefit for the healthcare industry if the data is used to assist patients and improve the overall quality and effectiveness of healthcare.


IMB Technologies, Harness your data resources in healthcare, accessed 16th October 2014,

IMB Technologies, Soon Chun Hyang Hospital augments its care experience, accessed 20thth October 2014, <;

Kivatinos,D. 2014, How big data is beginning to change how medicine works, Venture Beat News, accessed 20th October 2014, <;

Kuo,M., Sahama,T., kushniruk,A., Borycki,E. Grunwell,D., 2014, ‘Health big data analytics: current perspectives, challenges and potential solutions’, International Journal for big data intelligence’, vol. 1, viewed 20th October 2014, <;

Raley, Rita. 2013, ‘Dataveillance and countervailance,’ in Gitelman, L. (ed) “Raw data” is an oxymoron,Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, pp. 131-9.


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