Big data: big troubles or big opportunities?

November 14, 2013

Big data is gaining more and more popularity in many industries: from consumer products, heavy industries to studies of consumer behavior. Healthcare is still a way behind the leaders in adoption. The biggest challenge healthcare providers face so far is privacy protection. Failure to comply with privacy rules risks huge penalties. Target case (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/shopping-habits.html?_r=0) is a good example of public outcry. But big data, especially if smart depersonalizing and encryption algorithms are applied, can offer both, security and benefits. Researchers can better trace causes and consequences of various illnesses, find better cures. Drug companies can better design pre and clinical trial process, physicians monitor patients and efficiency of treatments. Insurers can get access to more precise and better quality data about population, price their health insurance plans more efficiently. All in all we all are the winners. Recent advances in big data management technologies, like open source Apache Hadoop (http://hadoop.apache.org), makes data analysis cheaper, faster and more accessible than ever.

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