Wal-Mart probably knows more about you than your doctor…

When you walk into a Wal-Mart, they likely know more about you than your local hospital. They know when and what you’ve purchased, your income, your family members, your political affiliation, and probably even the habitual route you take while walking through the store.  Like many other companies, Wal-Mart mines tons of big data to improve their marketing campaigns, sell more, and generally improve their bottom line.

Healthcare is behind in employing big data analytics tools. For example, when you go to the hospital or clinic, it is often treated as a single visit—you may even have to update all of your demographic information each time.  Your data is generally only important during your visit and is often archived immediately after your visit—essentially making it inaccessible for subsequent visits. What if healthcare could employ big data analytics to the level of commercial enterprises like Wal-Mart?

Let’s look at some statistics related to healthcare spending.  A 2012 report (of 2009 data) from the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) reveals that spending for healthcare services is extremely uneven—a small proportion of the population is responsible for a very high portion of spending. The study finds that the top 5% of spenders account for almost half of spending ($623 billion), and the top 1% of spenders account for over 20% of spending ($275 billion)[1] (See Figure).


It wouldn’t take much improvement in efficiency when dealing with that 1% of the population to make a substantial payoff. If trends could be identified, or procedures developed that would lower costs for those few utilizers to keep them healthier and lower their consumption the impact can be dramatic.

Unfortunately, many healthcare providers are still trying to figure out what data they need to perform the equivalent of Wal-Mart’s analytics. Or they have the data, but can’t figure out how to get it all in one place.

EMC Isilon can help. Isilon is in the business of big data—making big data analytics more cost-effective and—perhaps most importantly with respect to healthcare—easier to implement. Isilon provides the foundation for a scale-out data lake—a key capability that provides simplicity, agility, and efficiency to store and manage unstructured data. Starting with a scale-out data lake, healthcare organizations can:

  • Invest in the infrastructure they need today to get started today,
  • Realize the value of their data, store, process, and analyze it—in the most cost effective manner, and
  • Grow capabilities as needs grow in the future.

In short, EMC Isilon can help healthcare organizations get on the road to leveraging their data to improve patient comfort, lower costs, and streamline healthcare procedures.

Source: [1]“The Concentration of Healthcare Spending: NIHCM Foundation Data Brief July 2012” http://www.nihcm.org/component/content/article/326-publications-health-care-spending/679-the-concentration-of-health-care-spending

About the Author: James Han

James is the Sr. Manager for Healthcare Business Development & Alliances for the Storage Division based in Seattle, WA. He joined Dell EMC in early 2013. James has over 15 years in various strategy and product development roles in Healthcare IT organization such as GE, 3M and Microsoft focused on analytics, Health Information Exchange, medical imaging, structured reporting, and speech recognition.