Big Data in Healthcare: 4 Big Benefits

Big Data in Healthcare: 4 Big Benefits

  • Nick Piette
    Nick Piette joined Talend in 2017 as the Director of Evangelism. In this role, Nick is responsible for providing thought leadership, brand awareness and community outreach. Prior to Talend, Nick held roles in customer support, technical presales and product management at a leading integration company.

In this episode of Craft Beer and Data, Mark and I travel just south of the Bay Area to chug some beer and talk data.

Devil’s Canyon Brewery started in San Carlos, California, 15 years ago. We met with their Production Lead, Ryan Edmonds, to learn more about the Silicon Valley brewery. The motto of Devil’s Canyon is “Crafting Beer, Building Community,” and it’s apparent why. The brewery building (that was once a Tesla factory) hosts all kinds of events to bring people together, and, of course, they make delicious beer!

To hear more about Devil’s Canyon and their brewing process, watch the rest of the conversation in the video above!

After Mark crushed me in the chugging contest, we both grabbed another glass to discuss how data is changing the healthcare world and saving countless lives in the process.

What Is Big Data Doing for Healthcare?

Few industries have been revolutionized by big data as much as healthcare. In this episode, we talked about:

  1. Gene mapping
  2. Creating new drugs
  3. Real-time health data
  4. Organ donation

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1. Gene Mapping

You may have heard of The Human Genome Project. This process of mapping genes is essentially identifying what makes us human. Recently, there has been a huge explosion in the capabilities to map genes, and a lot of that has come from all the advancement processing data at scale using technologies like apache spark. it’s probably the most important project we’ll see in our lifetime. 

Here are a few facts:

  • In the early stages, gene mapping cost 3 billion dollars to sequence. Now, it only cost about $1,000 per patient.
  • It’s estimated that by 2025 we will have to start working with zettabytes of sequencing per year for the processing power.
  • By 2025, storage needs will be in the range of two to four exabytes. (That’s a lot of data!)

Because of data processing, there is huge potential for understanding who we are as a humans. Gene mapping is the lead in to individualized medicine, which—in some cases—can be a matter of life or death.

2. Creating New, Life-Saving Drugs

It is a long, expensive process to make a new drug. The first phase is the discovery and testing of molecules.

Discovery and testing can cost $500 million or more, and requires a lot of data. Ten to 15 years ago, it was too much data to process, so data scientists sampled. At that time decisions were made on roughly seven to 10% of the available data. With today’s capabilities we can make stronger data driven decisions that encompass the full picture, enabling researchers a higher chance of success when determining which molecules are worth spending another $200 million on. It’s no surprise that many companies are reviewing old datasets to see if anything was missed.

3. Real-Time Health Data

No longer do doctors have to waste precious time waiting on a patient’s health history. Watch the full episode (above) for a list of ways that big data is becoming real-time in healthcare. With so much change happening, it will be fascinating to see how other aspects of the healthcare industry evolve to support and take advantage of real-time data updates.

4. Organ Donation

When it comes to saving lives, one Talend customer knows first hand the importance of having the capacity to handle a lot of data. UNOS, “United Network for Organ Sharing,” is a 35-year-old network that matches organ donors with recipients.

UNOS is now able to match patients with organs in a 24 to 48 hour window! The program also creates an organ offer report, which is sent to all the hospitals in their network. It is critical to handle the velocity of that data so patients can survive.

 Big Data in Healthcare Needs an 11th “V”

Big data is crucial for modern healthcare, but there is a potential dark side. There is a lot of personal information involved in all that data, and we must be careful to treat it with respect.

I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: it’s time to add a new “V” to the big data list—virtue. We have the data, but how are we going to use it?

Watch the full episode for more on how big data is transforming healthcare. You can also check out how Talend is helping the healthcare industry optimize their big data processes, and catch up on the entire first season of Craft Beer & Data.

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