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Big data success means asking the right questions

When using big data within a healthcare organisation, identifying the problems the business is trying to solve is key.

That’s according to Accenture’s APAC Health Lead, Penny O’Hara.

“A lot of people, I think, imagine that if they have big data solutions the insights will jump out of the data,” O’Hara told Nursing Review. “That's not the case. You have to focus on what problems you're trying to solve, use the data to identify the causes of those problems, generate some insights, and then be prepared to take action.”

She explained, for example, there’s no point generating insights about people at risk in the community if there is no opportunity to act upon that in the community. “It's about one small step at a time,” she said.

O’Hara said using big data is about improving outcomes for people in care and in the community.

“Once one has a view across multiple different individuals at a population level, you can query that data to identify people who might be at risk of a future incident,” she added. “Looking at historical data, and a lot of it, [as] you need a lot, you can identify, using analytics, people who might be at risk of being admitted to an acute-care institution.”

Listen to hear O'Hara describe the impact big data could have on patient care and population health, and give advice for healthcare organisations looking to delve into this area.

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