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Why health data is a big data challenge

Kenneth Corbin | June 9, 2014
There's no shortage of health data, and it's growing at a rapid clip, but experts in the field cite challenges around making that information useful, readable and relevant to the physicians and patients who need it most.

Take Sense Health, a firm catering to harried care providers. Sense Health offers automated tools to help them put together a plan of care and follow-up with patients via text message, with the aim of carrying on an ongoing, two-way dialogue that would boost patients' adherence to their health regimen.

Through those messages, Sense Health generates volumes of data points about individual interactions with a patient. The real utility of the service, though, comes in packaging that information in such a way that it can help physicians evaluate and potentially adjust their treatment plans, according to Stan Berkow, founder and CEO of the startup.

"It's part of our job with the data we're collecting to give them the insights they need to utilize it," Berkow said, adding that data capture isn't about throwing data at physicians so they can make sense of it. "It's an effort for us to make sense of that and deliver them the insights ... Not that that's the easiest thing to do, but I think that full package needs to come with any product or technology coming out."


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