Big data for dummies: Where it comes from, where it goes and why it matters (infographic)

Tired of hearing the buzzword “big data” yet? Regardless of how you feel about the term, it’s not going away any time soon, and here’s why:

So-called big data converted to actionable data has the potential to create better diagnostic tools, more personalized treatment plans and a better understanding of population health. But to turn big data into actionable data, we need more manpower and more computer power to handle it all.

That’s hard for those of us who aren’t IT-minded to imagine, so Healthcare IT Connect laid it out in this infographic, which puts forward the estimate that there’s 50 petabytes of data in the healthcare realm. (For reference, 1 petabye would hold about 13 years’ worth of HD-TV video.) That’s a lot of data, and we’re constantly generating more at a quicker rate.

So it makes sense that we’ll soon have more data than our IT systems can handle. Healthcare IT Connect estimates a shortage of 190,000 people needed to fill the jobs needed to handle that kind of information.

Check out the infographic below to get a better understanding of how data flows through various health-related entities and organizations, and the potential it could have in improving outcomes and reducing costs.

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