Big Data and Medicine

By Vamsi R.

Big data is paving the road for great technological changes in many industries and giving researchers a powerful tool to analyze and focus on any area of improvement in their company or industry. The medical industry is greatly benefitting from the role of big data in the recent years and it has the potential to change the way the entire field operates.
The role of big data in medicine has no limitations. Beyond improving profits, “Big data in healthcare is being used to predict epidemics, cure disease, improve the quality of life and avoid preventable deaths” (Marr). This is revolutionary as it gives medical professionals a powerful tool in accessing a situation and making well-informed decisions. Big data helps by “aggregating more and more information around aggregating more and more information around multiple scales for what constitutes a disease – from the DNA, proteins, and metabolites to cells, tissues, organs, organisms, and ecosystems” (Mckinsey). This lowers the possibility of making a medical error as organized information is available to help you make the best decision in a particular situation. It also helps researches find cures and preventions for diseases in a more efficient way as large information is readily available in an organized manner.
Big data could also mean an end to the scientific method and create a streamline source for medical answers. It is claimed that “so much information will be available at our fingertips in the future, that there will be almost no need for experiments. The answers are already out there” (Standen). Using a large pool of medical records in the database, a researcher can see if one attribute is a causation for another. This will help them gain further understanding in their research without undergoing the long process of obtaining research grants and conducting independent studies.
There are many companies and organizations that are making the shift to using big data in their operations. One of these companies is IBM which has “announced an acquisition that will enable its Watson platform to learn from stored medical images” (Nelson). IBM’s strategy is to “combine rich image analytics with deep learning” to “cross reference the images with clinical studies, health records, and other sources”(Nelson). Using big data to transform their industry and improve quality overall is exciting to see in all aspects. With a company as large as IBM utilizing big data for medicine, it will not be so wrong to assume that big data might be the future for all healthcare and medical companies.
Organizing large amounts of information can save immense time and costs to medical professionals. With the entrance of big data, many technological changes are being seen in the healthcare and medical research industries. These changes are proving to be beneficial in giving medical professionals a powerful tool in making high quality decisions and have the scope to revolutionize the way the industry operates a whole. Overall, big data is greatly changing the medical field and will only grow in use by medical professionals in the future. read more...

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