MRA Thought of the Day – What is “Big Data”?

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What is “big data” anyway?

Karen Gallagher Grant RHIA, CHP

Karen Gallagher Grant

Big Data can be defined by reviewing its basic characteristics, sometimes referred to as the 3 Vs: volume, velocity, and variety.

  • Volume refers to the rapid rate at which data is growing. In 2020 it is estimated there will be 44 times more data than in 2009—35 zettabytes compared to 800,000 petabytes. Big Data techniques and software work to manage large data blocks and make sense of the information.
  • Velocity represents the increasing frequency with which data is delivered. Data such as social media, monitoring and sensing devices, and embedded chips— now in every imaginable device from refrigerators and airplanes to bodily implants—all add to the growing mounds of available data.
  • Variety signifies the many forms in which data exists. In healthcare this includes unstructured data in text format, scanned documents, streams of data from monitoring devices, email or text messages, and audio and video from images and procedures that add to the wide variety of existing structured healthcare data.1

Here are my thoughts…

The strategy to move from silos data to one platform and provide analytics is a lofty goal, however, there are a number of items to consider when we invest in having our data pooled into one.

Who will pay for the long-term support of this method? How can we determine the quality of the data? What data do we need to improve health outcomes? Is the data that has been collected classified? In addition to the analytic tools, are there knowledge tools that can be applied to the data to ensure accuracy?

In order for big data to be successful we need to start at the source data and validate it’s accuracy via quality standards and best practice.

What are your thoughts?

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