“Big Data” is a big buzzword. But what does it really mean and why all the hype? Well, as its name suggests, Big Data involves the accumulation of massive amounts of information, but it’s not enough just to have the information. For it to be effective, Big Data needs to be gathered, processed, analyzed, and presented in a manner which allows those using it to address specific weaknesses. When it comes to building management, we’ve always known there was a world of data waiting for us, but until recently we didn’t know how to harness that data, nor did we really understand its true potential. New developments in technology have made it easier make sense out of Big Data and use it to improve business processes.
Big Data has been proven an effective tool for businesses and organizations. In fact, recent academic research conducted by MIT suggests that it can improve productivity rates by 5 percent and profitability rates by 6 percent– increases that are nothing to sneeze at. In the world of business, it’s already more widespread than you might realize. You see Big Data at work every time you log into your Amazon account and find yourself presented with personalized suggestions for what to buy next, but its possible uses extend far beyond targeted advertising.
The data coming from a building’s infrastructure systems, such as building management, electrical distribution, and IT, can provide the information healthcare organizations need in order to make informed decisions. By understanding what has happened in the past and its effect on patients, staff, and the organization as a whole, facility directors can make a better plan for the future.
Though widespread adoption of Big Data technologies in hospitals is still a work in progress, the benefits of Big Data can already be seen. By collecting and managing the hospital’s building infrastructure Big Data with Digital Hospital solutions like Schneider Electric’s StruxureWare for Healthcare, hospitals can access and analyze information on energy use, system maintenance, and location and use of hospital equipment, just to name a few.
Big Data can compare multiple variables with complex relationships to provide the most comprehensive set of predictions possible. The possibilities are endless. Let’s just look at one example. What if we could tie building infrastructure Big Data to patient record Big Data to make correlations between hospital-acquired infections and the conditions of the built environment in hospitals? What could we learn about optimal healing environments, the spread of disease, and how to better care for our patients? What impact could that information have on the future of hospital architecture and infrastructure design?
Beyond the building, though, Big Data has also been notable for its role in improving medical research and bioinformatics. A recent success story from a Stanford hospital poignantly illustrates that large, searchable databases of medical records can make it easier for doctors to make informed decisions on patient care– which can, in turn, save patient lives.
The next decade will undoubtedly bring more technological advances and improvements, so it’s critical that the healthcare industry catch up to the advances already available today. Big Data has a lot to offer, and can help healthcare facilities make big strides toward improved patient care and business efficiency.