The buzzword, “big data”, is becoming more and more prominent in the medical industry, but we all have a different understanding of what this term means. The definition is different depending on what sector of medicine you are referencing, so let’s back up for a moment. Where did this, now common, phrase originate and what does it mean to the medical imaging world?
“Big data” was coined in 1967 by NASA researchers to describe the enormous amount of information generated from supercomputers. More recently, the term has evolved to mean a collection of data sets so large and complex, it is difficult to process using available database management tools or traditional data processing applications.
In the medical imaging world, the impact of big data is profound and may have far reaching impacts in healthcare. Data collection and management is an enormous task, and that topic can be a separate blog in itself. For now, let’s take a look at the broader picture and recognize the practical applications of big data management in healthcare.
Access to prior imaging work allows healthcare providers to easily recognize changes in patients’ anatomy. Proper management of this information will lead early diagnosis and well-planned treatment strategies for affected individuals.
Having the ability to view patient imaging exams that were taken at other organizations is beneficial for both the patients and the medical institutions involved. By properly managing imaging data, vendor silos can be eliminated in healthcare systems.
If medical data is organized in a central location, patient information can be accessed from a variety of end points and devices. This will ease coordination on patient cases, especially in the digital realm.
Collecting, managing, and eventually applying big data in healthcare is no small feat, but the subject is not going away anytime soon. In fact, this is where the future of medical collaboration is heading.
What are some ways your organization handles big data management? Leave your replies in the comment section below.