It is indeed boom time for Big Data in Healthcare. According to CBE insights, Big Data startups garnered USD 400M in investors funding in first half 2014 as compared to USD133M in the whole of 2013.
In fact the biggest corporations of the world are in someway investing in developing Big Data solutions for healthcare
Having said that healthcare has its own inherent challenges, and we are not talking about adoption, there are several challenges just to kick-start and execute so that we can witness early successes that would trigger mass adoption later.
- One of the first challenges is too much data volume. As per IDC the data from healthcare is increasing at the rate of 40% per year. We believe largely the reason is increased tendency of healthcare industry to record data. The data scientists are deluged with the large volume of data coming from varied sources
- The second challenge is related to the first one, is the lack of standardization of health care data. The vast amount of data comes in so many different forms — from insurance agencies to prescriptions, X-Rays and Scans, conversations about health in social media, and information from wearable and other monitoring devices. If data is not standardized it would be difficult to gain any worthwhile insights. Standardization is itself a huge challenge because all sources, public and private alongwith key vendors must decide on a universal standardization of recording and archiving data.
- The third challenge is also an opportunity in one sense. While we understand the volume and diverse nature of data , the current regression form of analyzing data & prediction is just not enough. We will need to integrate diverse data into current set of software applications and amalgamate with machine learning solutions and artificial intelligence to derive patterns and meaningful insights.
- Preservation of Privacy: Healthcare data may potentially be more valuable than say a credit card number. Altering a large volume of patient care data by hackers can have severe repercussions, similarly deletion of data and theft of data can create havoc. Not just that, just like Facebook and various other social and e-commerce platforms, it may so happen that the patient will not be the owner of its own data. The platform that is collecting this data would be the deemed owner. And this clearly calls for a very stringent governance framework.