Monday, December 29, 2014

My new Pinterest #Bigdata board

Hey. I just updated my Pinterest "bigdata" board. Lots of good stuff in a single location. Thought you might be interested.

I'll be updating this board with new content weekly, which is more than I can say for this blog at the moment. Working on that as well.

So here's the Pinterest board. Feel free to comment or "follow."

Follow Charlie's board Big Data on Pinterest.

While I was at it... I've been collecting informative videos on the subject. I've got a bunch from a number of conferences, featuring interviews with key data scientists and visionaries. There's some really good content here.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Role of Big Data in Health Care

In health care delivery systems, data science promises to save lives; improve quality control; reduce the price of health care; reduce hospital costs; discover efficiencies; streamline the flow of work, information, supplies and equipment; and thus, to transform healthcare as we know it. 

There is no rational argument against major reform and re-working of our old-fashioned, inefficient healthcare systems. I should know. The author is a former Registered Nurse, Nurse educator; Director of Nurses and health system/clinic board of directors member. Yes, I spent the last 35+ years in technology, but I started out in health care delivery. So just what are we looking at?

From immediate appointments without repetitive forms to decision-making based on science, not intuition or guesswork, the “big data” revolution will touch every aspect of our health care delivery system in a significant and positive manner.

"At the heart of many health care industry debates is what to do about data: how to realize its value for quality care, bending the cost curve, how to share it and how to secure it. Health care providers face significant obstacles in implementing analytics, BI tools and data warehousing. Health data is diverse and distributed in hard-to-penetrate silos owned by a multitude of stakeholders. To complicate matters, each stakeholder has different interests and business incentives while still being closely intertwined."  Institute of Health Technology Transformation
The literature reveals an early stage interest in and adoption of “data science,” often expressed as “big data,” to achieve measurable improvements in efficiency; discover bottlenecks; and extract meaningful, actionable data from the estimated 150 exabytes of data that has been generated to date in US healthcare institutions.

“Big data are high volume, high velocity and/or high variety information assets that require new forms of processing to enable enhanced decision making, insight discovery and process optimization.” Gartner Group
The initial focus of these efforts to harness the power of “big data” is around workflow monitoring and improvement; information and communication management; EMR; outcome improvements; performance improvement; QA, safety, epidemiology; trend spotting; and, waste reduction.  And billing optimization. It is disappointing to this writer that some initial efforts to leverage big date in healthcare are around billing, and not outcomes. Experts agree that this transition needs to be patient-centric: not profit-centric.

There are many, additional opportunities for leveraging big data as well, including: facilities and plant management; personnel management; and, equipment and supply management.

That’s why companies like Premier Healthcare Alliance and Explorys (an offshoot of the Cleveland Clinic) are successful in this space… in addition to recent entrants GE and an IBM/Cisco collaboration. GE just ramped-up a new HC-oriented practice and immediately hired 400 new staff. That said, there’s room for a lot more players in the major league, including regional players.

The move to "performance-based" reimbursement from traditional "fee-for-service" models is also driving the transition to big data within health care delivery systems. The federal government, in an attempt to control costs, increase transparency, and establish accountability; has mandated the capture of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in all of the healthcare delivery environments and agencies it funds/supports. The value of KPIs to healthcare is explored in more depth in this article from the Lean Six Sigma Healthcare blog.

Why is this important?

Citing a 2011 McKinsey & Co. study,  the Institute for Health Technology Transformation (IHT2), a New York-based research and consulting firm said the U.S. healthcare industry could potentially save $300 billion a year with the help of advanced analytics, but healthcare organizations continue to struggle with managing and leveraging the vast stores of data they are building up.

By 2011, U.S. healthcare organizations had generated 150 exabytes -- that's 150 billion gigabytes -- of data, IHT2 said. Kaiser Permanente alone might have as much as 44 petabytes of patient data just from its electronic health record (EHR) system, or 4,400 times the amount of information held at the Library of Congress.  Source:

The new firm, Analytics 2 Insight, that I co-founded with my friend and colleague Michael Davies, MBA CFA, prepared this slide deck to highlight the services we offer health care providers/systems.

Editor's Note: This is the second post in a planned series. Preliminary posts cover the basics. The first post in the series is here. More specific articles are planned to explore the details...  #BigData #Analytics #Metrics #KPIs #healthcare

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Big Data Will Change the World

After spending the last four years struggling to re-imagine and re-invent a storied video game developer, the author is taking a hiatus from the gaming software world and venturing into the emerging "big data" and "analytics" marketplace. It is an exciting journey that will be shared in this blog - with posts and updates on a regular basis. So on to the basics...

As Vince Lombardi once said: “If you’re not keeping score, you’re only practicing… not playing.” In business and institutional settings, analytics is how we keep score.

Analytics is defined as the process of analyzing statistical data to gain insight.  The depth and scope of insight to be gained is demonstrably substantial; so interest in metrics, analytics, infographics and visualization continues to grow in businesses and institutions.  In some settings, like federally-supported health care systems, moving to an analytics-based model is a mandate with looming deadlines.  In a sense, small-to-medium size businesses have some serious deadlines approaching as well.

For the most part, business executives understand the need to harness the power of “big data,” analytics and predictive analysis to stay competitive; but many have no idea where to begin, or how to transition to a data- and analytics-driven business model.  Much of the material in this post come from a Foreword that I wrote for a new e-book on the subject entitled: Analytics 2 Insight.

Quoted in a recent Forbes article, Michael Cristiani at Powerhouse Factories might have captured it best, telling Reuters that small businesses already have most of the data they need. “The world runs on data and analytics,” he said. “They’re starving for the insights.”

Analytics can be applied to identify trends, patterns, and anomalies so that businesses, institutions and agencies can lower costs; reduce risks, enhance performance and increase value through data-based decision making. 

Analytics is a powerful decision support tool, and is particularly useful to aligning strategy to business/institutional objectives. By combining statistics, operations, marketing, and financial analysis with data from internal and external sources, a better understanding of trends, patterns, and interactions can be established.  That is what insight is all about.

As Tech America Foundation's Federal Big Data Commission recently found: "Hidden in the immense volume, variety and velocity of data that is produced today is new information, facts, relationships, indicators and pointers, that either could not be practically discovered in the past, or simply did not exist before."

Analytics service engagements range from predictive and propensity modeling to sensor monitoring and anomaly detection. Analytics and “big data” are the next revolution in the digital world. Data visualization decreases time-to-insight, ensuring relevancy and magnifying actions and interventions. 

At the end of the day, it’s about collecting/capturing data, both internal and external, then analyzing the data based on key indicators so that the insight gleaned can be brought to bear on the mandates and challenges of delivering and documenting efficient, effective products and services to your customer base. This welcome trend is being driven by a combination of factors, including: competitive mandates, contractual mandates, savvy board directors and community partners.  And sometime in the not so distant future, there will be a serious price to pay for failure to comply.

Editor's Note: this is the first installment of a series of articles I have planned on the subject. So stay tuned, more to follow.  #BigData #Analytics #Metrics #NewBook #Business