BIG DATA RISKS AND REWARDS
When you wake in the morning, you may reach for your cell phone to reply to a few text or email messages that you missed overnight. On your drive to work, you may stop to refuel your car. Upon your arrival, you might swipe a key card at the door to gain entrance to the facility. And before finally reaching your workstation, you may stop by the cafeteria to purchase a coffee.
From the moment you wake, you are in fact a data-generation machine. Each use of your phone, every transaction you make using a debit or credit card, even your entrance to your place of work, creates data. It begs the question: How much data do you generate each day? Many studies have been conducted on this, and the numbers are staggering: Estimates suggest that nearly 1 million bytes of data are generated every second for every person on earth.
As the volume of data increases, information professionals have looked for ways to use big data large, complex sets of data that require specialized approaches to use effectively. Big data has the potential for significant rewards and significant risks to healthcare. In this Discussion, you will consider these risks and rewards.
Post a description of at least one potential benefit of using big data as part of a clinical system and explain why. Then, describe at least one potential challenge or risk of using big data as part of a clinical system and explain why. Propose at least one strategy you have experienced, observed, or researched that may effectively mitigate the challenges or risks of using big data you described. Be specific and provide examples.
Discussion: Big Data Risks and Rewards
Big data in healthcare describes the massive volumes of information created due to the adoption of digital technologies that collect patients’ records and information and assist in the management of hospitals’ performance. Patient portals, electronic health records (EHRs), wearable devices, and research studies as well as government health agencies are sources of big data in health care. Big data provides benefits as well as the challenges that it may contain (Abouelmehdi et al., 2018). One benefit of using big data in healthcare is increased efficiency in care delivery across all care settings, including acute care and emergency department as well as monitoring of patients with chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension. For instance, nurse administrators and public health nurses can use big data to assess or evaluate the trend in patient admission rates and prevalence of certain public health concerns like the comorbidities. Through analysis of admission rates, the nurse administrators can determine the level of staff needed (Dash et al., 2019). For instance, predictive analytics allow nurse administrators to make effective decisions concerning most efficient staff level that can offer better care.
Conversely, one challenge of big data in health care, especially in nursing, is data security. Recent incidents of increased cyber espionage and hacking implore healthcare administrators to develop better database security measures, including firewalls and anti-malware software to reduce the severity of these data theft events (Pastorino et al., 2019). Encryption of sensitive patient data, restriction and tracking of access to data and applications are some of the best strategies to mitigate security breaches that have the ability to compromise data security (Sivarajah et al., 2018). The implication is that providers and organizations should have policies and processes that lead to the implementation of these measures to prevent and reduce data security vulnerabilities in healthcare settings.
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