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JMIR Med Inform. 2016 Nov 21;4(4):e38.

Challenges and Opportunities of Big Data in Health Care: A Systematic Review.

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School of Health Administration, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, United States.



Big data analytics offers promise in many business sectors, and health care is looking at big data to provide answers to many age-related issues, particularly dementia and chronic disease management.


The purpose of this review was to summarize the challenges faced by big data analytics and the opportunities that big data opens in health care.


A total of 3 searches were performed for publications between January 1, 2010 and January 1, 2016 (PubMed/MEDLINE, CINAHL, and Google Scholar), and an assessment was made on content germane to big data in health care. From the results of the searches in research databases and Google Scholar (N=28), the authors summarized content and identified 9 and 14 themes under the categories Challenges and Opportunities, respectively. We rank-ordered and analyzed the themes based on the frequency of occurrence.


The top challenges were issues of data structure, security, data standardization, storage and transfers, and managerial skills such as data governance. The top opportunities revealed were quality improvement, population management and health, early detection of disease, data quality, structure, and accessibility, improved decision making, and cost reduction.


Big data analytics has the potential for positive impact and global implications; however, it must overcome some legitimate obstacles.


analytics; big data; electronic medical record; health care; human genome

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