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Digital Information and Analysis – Big Data & Healthcare

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Our most recent #QualityMatters podcast discussed Big Data and it’s use in the healthcare field.  Quality should be a way of doing business.  In healthcare, all records are digitized.  The idea is that we can take that information, make it anonymous, and analyze it for doctors to better understand how patients might react to procedures and/or medications.

Kyle discussed that cancer research is already heading that way and is ahead of the rest of the fields.  After we were done recording, I got to thinking about this.  My question is, “Why is cancer research ahead of the game and not other fields?”

My conclusion was simple and you’ve probably already guessed it.  Cancer funding is ahead of the game.  Money is always being raised for cancer research.  The National Cancer Institute Budget Fact Book reports that a total of $5.64 billion was funded from the government in fiscal year 2017.  (  Another article states that in one weekend in 2014, $109 million was raised for cancer research (  And, there are many more than one fundraiser…there are walks, races, dinners, etc.

When I look into Mental Health funding, to compare, it’s a little more difficult to find information.  I found the National Council for Behavioral Health information.  It has a reported government funded budget of $482 million for the 2015 fiscal year (  Not only is that a mere 10% of government funded cancer research, that $482 million is split between substance abuse and mental health.

Microsoft has a monopoly on desktop operating systems.  Why is that?  While there are many people and they all have different brands, all of them can talk the Microsoft language.  Microsoft created its system to be compatible with different venues.

It seems like an overwhelming challenge, but it can be broken down simply.  We need to create a “Microsoft” for healthcare.  Currently, each hospital, doctor, clinic, etc has their own way of coding, categorizing and recording data.  Someone, a team of someones, needs to sit a room together for hours to create a single healthcare language that is easy to use and learn.  They need to work cooperatively with a team of internet security folks to ensure all our medical and personal information remains anonymous.  Then, here comes the big challenge.  Each hospital, doctor, clinic, etc has to opt in to the new “Microsoft of Healthcare.”  Patients should be able to upload data, as well.

Imagine a world where this is available.  Instead of a doctor saying, “Hey, let’s try this,” a doctor says, “According to our data analytics and your history, we have several cases that match your profile (height, weight, make up, symptoms) and it shows that these procedures/medications were a good fit for them.”  Hooray!  No more trial and error with your health!

So, let’s consider taking back our healthcare and the way things are done.  Let’s consider taking a percentage of each of the government funded health care research to pay for a Big Data and security team.  Heck, let’s start our own fundraiser for it!  #HEALTHCAREMATTERS

#Qualitymatters in all aspects of our life, from the oil field to our education system-quality should matter when it comes to your health, too.

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