healthcare industry

Applications of Data Visualization & Analytics in Healthcare Industry

Data Visualization & Analytics is generating a lot of hype in every industry including the healthcare industry. Leaders at health systems are now looking for answers about the data science. They’ve heard that it’s something important and that they need to be thinking about it. But they don’t really know what they’re supposed to do with it.

A number of use cases in healthcare industry are well suited for a Data Visualization solution. Some academic- or research-focused healthcare institutions are either experimenting with data visualization tools or using it in advanced research projects. Those institutions draw upon data scientists, statisticians, graduate students, and the like to wrangle the complexities of Data Visualization & Analytics.

In the healthcare industry, large volumes of data keep coming in. EMRs alone collect huge amounts of data. Most of that data is collected for recreational purposes. But neither the volume nor the velocity of data in healthcare is truly high enough to require visualization technology today. Only a small fraction of the tables in an EMR database (perhaps 400 to 600 tables out of 1000s) are relevant to the current practice of medicine and its corresponding analytics use cases. So, the vast majority of the data collection in healthcare today could be considered recreational. Although that data may have value down the road as the number of use cases expands, there aren’t many real use cases for much of that data today.

There is certainly variety in the data, but most systems collect very similar data objects with an occasional tweak to the model. That said, new use cases supporting genomics will certainly require a Data Visualization approach. Most health systems can do plenty today without Data Visualization technology, including meeting most of their analytics and reporting needs. It is necessary to stretch the limits of what healthcare analytics can accomplish with traditional relational databases – and using these databases effectively is a more valuable focus than worrying about Data Visualization & Analytics.

Currently, the majority of healthcare institutions are swamped with some very pedestrian problems such as regulatory reporting and operational dashboards. Most just need the proverbial “air and water” right now, but once basic needs are met and some of the initial advanced applications are in place, new use cases will arrive such as wearable medical devices and sensors, driving the need for big-data-style solutions.

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