Healthcare’s Top 10 Challenges in Big Data Analytics

November 14, 2018
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There are multiple perks to Big Data analytics. Specifically, in the domain of healthcare, Big Data analytics can result in lower care costs, increased transparency to performance, healthier patients, and consumer satisfaction among many other benefits. However, achieving these outcomes with meaningful analytics has already proven to be tough and challenging. What are the major issues slowing down the process and how are they being resolved? We will discuss the top 10 in this article. 

Top 10 Challenges of Big Data Analytics in Healthcare

 

  • Capturing Accurate Data

 

The data being captured for the analysis is ideally expected to be truly clean, well-informed, complete and accurate. But unfortunately, at times, data is often skewed and cannot be used in multiple systems. To solve this critical issue, the health care providers need to redesign their data capture routines, prioritise valuable data and train their clinicians to recognise the value of relevant information. 

 

  • Storage Bandwidth

 

Typically, conventional on-premises data centres fail to deliver as the volume of healthcare data once reaches certain limits. However, the advancement in cloud storage technology is offering a potential solution to this problem through its added capacities of information storage. 

 

  • Cleaning Processes

 

Currently, the industry relies on manual data cleaning processes which takes huge amounts of time to complete. However, recently introduced scrubbing tools for cleaning data have shown promise is resolving this issue. The progress in this sector is expected to result in automated low-cost data cleaning. 

 

  • Security Issues

 

The recurring incidents of hacking, high profile data breach and ransomware etc are posing credibility threats to Big Data solutions for organisations. The recommended solutions for this problem include updated antivirus software, encrypted data and multi-factor authentication to offer minimal risk and protect data.

 

  • Stewardship

 

Data in healthcare is expected to have a shelf life of at least 6 years. For this, there is a need an accurate and up-to-date metadata of details about when, by whom and for what purposes the data was created. The metadata is required for efficient utilisation of the data. A data steward should be assigned to create and maintain meaningful metadata.

  • Querying Accesses

Biggest challenges in querying the data are caused by data silos and interoperability problems. They prevent querying tools from accessing the whole repository of information. Nowadays, SQL is widely being used to explore larger datasets even though such systems require cleaner data to be fully effective.

 

  • Reporting

 

A report that is clear, concise and accessible to the target audience is required to be made after the querying process. The accuracy and reliability of the report depend on the quality and integrity of data.

 

  • Clear Data Visualization

 

For regular clinicians to interpret the information, a clean and engaging data visualization is needed. Organisations use data visualization techniques such as heat maps, scatter plots, pie charts, histogram and more to illustrate data, even without in-depth expertise in analytics.

 

  • Staying Up-to-Date

 

The dynamic nature of healthcare data demands regular updations to keep it relevant. The time interval between each update may vary from seconds to a couple of years for different datasets. It would be challenging to understand the volatility of big data one is handling unless a consistent monitoring process is in place.

 

  • Sharing Data

 

Since most patients do not receive all their care at the same location, sharing data with external partners is an important feature. The challenges of interoperability are being met with emerging strategies such as FHIR and public APIs. 

 Therefore, for efficient and sustainable Big Data ecosystem in healthcare, there are significant challenges are to be solved, for which solutions are being consistently developed in the market. For organisations, it is imperative to stay updated on long-term trends in solving Big Data challenges

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