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Making use of the petabytes of patient data that healthcare organizations possess requires extracting it from legacy systems... and some


Making use of the petabytes of patient data that healthcare organizations possess requires extracting it from legacy systems, normalizing it and then building applications that can make sense of it. That's a tall order, but the facilities that pull it off can learn a lot.Here are six real-world examples of how healthcare can use big data analytics.

1. Ditch the Cookbook, Move to Evidence-Based Medicine - access to patient data—even from competing institutions—helps caregivers take an evidence-based approach to medicine

2. Give Everyone a Chance to Participate - the VA's remedy has been the Million Veteran Program, a voluntary research program that's using blood samples and other health information from U.S. military veterans to study how genes affect one's health. So far, more than 150,000 veterans have enrolled, D'Avolio says.

3. Build Apps That Make EHR 'Smart' - A data warehouse is great, says John D'Amore, founder of clinical analytics software vendor Clinfometrics, but it's the healthcare equivalent of a battleship that's big and powerful but comes with a hefty price tag and isn't suitable for many types of battles. It's better to use lightweight drones—in this case, applications—which are easy to build in order to accomplish a specific task.

4. 'Domesticate' Data for Better Public Health Reporting, Research - "normalize" raw patient data by mapping it to LOINC and SNOMED CT, as well as by performing real-time natural language processing and using tools such as theNotifiable Condition Detector to determine which conditions are worth reporting.

5. Make Healthcare IT Vendors Articulate SOA Strategy- recommends that healthcare organizations "aggregate clinical data at whatever level you can afford to do it," then normalize that data (as others explain above). Service oriented architecture is the answer, Dente says, because it can be built to host today's data sets—as well as tomorrow's, from sources that organizations don't even know they need yet. (This could range from personal medical devices to a patient's grocery store rewards card.) Challenge vendors on their SOA strategy, Dente says, and be wary of those who don't have one.

6. Use Free Public Health Data For Informed Strategic Planning - Using Google Maps and free public health data, the University of Florida created heat maps for municipalities based on numerous factors, from population growth to chronic disease rates, and compared those factors to the availability of medical services in those areas. When merged with internal data, strategic planning becomes both visually compelling (critical for C-level executives) and objective (critical for population health management)

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