Big data, the term coined for the collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications, has been steadily gaining its popularity. As the medical field continues to grow and change, big data is increasingly playing a bigger role. Under the auspices of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, (HITECH Act), the U.S. government is requiring healthcare providers -- hospitals, clinics and private practices alike -- to implement EHRs or Electronic Health Records.
The world we live in today is one of intense digital information that is expanding at a rate of 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day! Don’t believe me? Just think about this… YouTube alone has 60 hours of new video data uploaded every minute. There are over 700,000 messages being delivered on Facebook every minute, and 175,000 Tweets are sent on Twitter every 60 seconds. Now that’s a lot of data, but it doesn’t even account for the majority of the world’s data. In fact 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years alone! It’s no wonder they call this phenomenon “Big Data”.