“Success of any healthcare Big Data project is driven by a cultural change within the organization concerned”
The proven benefits of healthcare Big Data projects are winning over all healthcare professionals. The roster of advantages is a long one: Big Data’s ability to personalize clinical treatment while monitoring adherence is slashing its cost; a new generation of intelligent tools to support clinical decision-making and guide specialists in real time; early diagnosis of rare diseases; bringing health services more into line with real needs and even forestalling epidemics.
In the words of Inmaculada Pérez Garro, Manager of the Eastern Region Office of GMV Secure e-Solutions, during her speech at the National Healthcare Congress, Inforsalud, “Big Data is an enabling technology that, in combination with a cultural change, is capable of generating an environment favorable to the exchange of information, collaboration and the maximum harnessing of information and enhancement of knowledge. It will increase healthcare quality, help to make health systems more sustainable and boost clinical research, among other advantages”.
Bid Data technology cannot be taken up by organizations as a mere vogue or trend. The result would be woolly projects with no clear definition or goal. GMV’s specialist in healthcare Big Data projects argued, on the contrary, that the design of any healthcare Big Data platform “has to start by answering three basic questions: What data do we have? What questions do we want to answer? How are we going to apply the results in terms of assistance, prevention, research or management?”
The executive itemized “the fundamental processes to implement in any Big Data project in order to bring out the value of the data recorded in each healthcare service”: namely, compiling data, while controlling and monitoring its quality; fitting together the pieces of information in accordance with an overall strategy to control evidence according to the security guidelines to meet each specific case (what can be seen, what can be shown …, etc.).
Inmaculada Pérez hinged her recommendations on three healthcare Big Data projects that GMV is currently working on: HEXIN, the epidemiological and clinical data mining platform of the Regional Authority of Galicia, and the European projects HARMONY and MOPEAD, the first focusing on research into hematological diseases and the second into Alzheimer.
To wind up, and in answer to question from the floor, Pérez argued that “the degree of maturity of Big Data technologies and of clients in terms of the clarity of objectives sought is high. The same cannot be said for ethical aspects to be taken onboard in a project of this type”. In the face of “an excess of zeal” she stressed that, in order to safeguard patients’ right to privacy “these projects are always carried out with the help of specialist advisors in current data-protection legislation and action taken has to respond to the requisite level of security in each particular case: anonymous data, unlinked data, non-anonymized data, etc.”
Although, “Big data technology is mature, the intrinsic dynamism of technologies calls for sound data-mining strategies to make sure the impact of any advances is maximum”.