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

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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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Deanna Pogorelc

By Deanna Pogorelc MedCity News

Deanna Pogorelc is a Cleveland-based reporter who writes obsessively about life science startups across the country, looking to technology transfer offices, startup incubators and investment funds to see what’s next in healthcare. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ball State University and previously covered business and education for a northeast Indiana newspaper.
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