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The Surge of Data in Healthcare

This content is brought to you by IBM. GOOD and IBM have teamed up to bring you the Figures of Progress series to explore the different ways...



This content is brought to you by IBM. GOOD and IBM have teamed up to bring you the Figures of Progress series to explore the different ways that information has revolutionized our world. Click here to read more stories.

We know that data is all around us. Each time you make a web search, turn on your car or even scan your rewards card at the grocery store, data is being collected. But there’s one industry where there is a lot of data being gathered, and most of it isn’t being used.


In the healthcare sector, 80 percent of patient data is unstructured—meaning it’s not being organized in a predefined manner. The Center for Disease Control estimates 42 percent of all physicians have an electronic health record system that meets federal standards, but in the healthcare field especially there are many hand written notes and charts, which can’t be easily processed by traditional computer programs.

With the global size of big data in healthcare estimated at 150 exabytes in 2011, and continuing to grow at a rate of 1.2 to 2.4 exabytes a year, hospitals and physicians are working to find ways to put this data to use. It’s been estimated that 51 percent of all hospitals have an electronic disease registry to identify and manage gaps in care, but still nearly 90 percent of data is discarded by healthcare providers.

As physicians and researchers face increasing amounts of data, some like Mobisante CEO, Sailesh Chutani, are using it to develop real world solutions to healthcare problems. Take a look at how his smartphone-based ultrasound imaging system is making healthcare more accessible and affordable.

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