The Many Healthcare Benefits of Self-service Data Prep

In a recent piece for Forbes, Bernard Marr discusses the various ways in which big data is a game changer when it comes to healthcare. From prevention, to treatment, to follow up care, healthcare professionals and patients alike are already benefiting from big data and the future holds even greater promise. Marr specifically addresses IBM’s Watson and its success in being able to read and analyze huge quantities of data allowing healthcare professionals to provide patients with personal, individualized care. In fact, IBM could soon help physicians eliminate hours of manual research as it works on developing an interface where Watson would take existing medical research and synthesize and summarize the information.

Recent Partnership Already Shaping Improved Healthcare
Even better, some of the manual labor has already been eliminated. Altair and IBM recently partnered and today, IBM business intelligence users are able to rapidly prepare data from virtually any information source from traditional databases to multi-structured documents, such as PDF and text reports, EMS outputs, web pages, JSON, and log files. What does this all suggest? It means that healthcare data can now be prepared for analysis in a fraction of the time that it takes using spreadsheets and other manually intensive measures.

The recent pairing of self-service data prep tool Altair Monarch with IBM Watson Analytics and Cognos Analytics also allows for:

  • Simple data preparation – Users can drop a file or document on a prep canvas, and data is instantly available in rows and columns. More than 80 pre-built functions are available to transform and manipulate data with simple mouse clicks.
  • Disparate data integration – Users can quickly combine dissimilar data using a join analysis recommendation engine with fuzzy matching.
  • Sharing and automation – Users can achieve transparency and reuse data models and preparation steps that automatically save in human-readable format.
  • Security and information governance – Users can leverage features such as data masking to protect sensitive information, including patient names and social security numbers, and meet regulatory requirements.

Benefits Achieved Throughout Healthcare Systems
According to CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt, in a recent article from, independent practitioners in particular are affected by the heavy burdens of regulation, reporting, technology use, and changing financial arrangements that make it difficult to devote time to the nuances of patient care.

Thankfully, with a self-serve data preparation tool, some of that burden is lifted as users are able to:

  • Ensure regulatory compliance with on-time reporting, significantly reducing the time required to integrate data from all sources and providing real-time visibility into metrics on performance, patient safety and quality of care.
  • Enhance efficiency through clear insight into patient flow and bottlenecks in treatment processes.
  • Reduce medical errors with instant access to aggregated data on diagnostic information.
  • Monitor hospital-acquired infections and track epidemics with geographic specificity.

Care to learn more on how a self-service data preparation tool can help improve operations at your healthcare organization? Download the recent Blue Hill Research report, Bridging the Data Preparation Gap: Healthcare.