Benefits of Big Data in a Clinical System

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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. Big Data Risks and Rewards


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.

To Prepare:

Review the Resources and reflect on the web article Big Data Means Big Potential, Challenges for Nurse Execs.
Reflect on your own experience with complex health information access and management and consider potential challenges and risks you may have experienced or observed.
By Day 3 of Week 5
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. Big Data Risks and Rewards

Big data has become an essential tool in nursing today through the electronic health record (EHR). The EHR allows all staff to examine the patient’s chart, write orders, and track clinical data. EHR will enable organizations to analyze a large volume, variety, and velocity of data across healthcare networks (Wang et al., 2018). A significant benefit of having big data in healthcare has that information at the fingertips of all the care providers at any given time. A physician does not have to be on the floor to know their patient’s daily lab resulted, blood cultures were positive, and can order the appropriate antibiotics from another part of the hospital or their office. Having an EHR allows informatics to do real-time audits on policies and procedures to promptly ensure patients receive quality care. It also provides informatics to identify fallouts and correct them quickly. In previous paper charting times, it would take informatics days to months to complete audits and synthesize data, and it is a very time and labor-intensive process (Thew, 2016). Currently, many devices (cardiac monitor, IV pumps, vital signs) can be linked to the EHR, allowing informatics and care providers the ability to easily access, obtain, and analyze patient data (Glassman, 2017).

One significant risk EHR is allowing anyone with access to the EHR access to patient’s charts. For example, when I took a travel position in the ER in Phoenix, Arizona, part of my orientation was sitting with the traveler coordinator. My time spent with her was a long speech on how inappropriate it was to go into patient charts if you are not providing care to that patient. She explained that the hospital system had a hospital in California that took care of Kanye West when he had his breakdown. Up to 60-80 employees accessed his EHR to gather information about his visit. As a result, not only violating HIPPA but also hospital policy, all these employees were terminated. Big Data Risks and Rewards

I have been lucky to have been able to work within many different hospital systems as a travel nurse, and most systems use other EHR systems. I know systems like EPIC can allow patient’s charts to be “locked.” In prior hospitals, we would do this for high-profile patients (celebrities, presidents, congressmen and women etc.), and only care providers would have access with a specific password. Giving access to a wealth of patient information can be dangerous in the wrong hands, so having charts monitored and even locked if need be can help mitigate the challenges of keeping people who do not need to be in the patient’s chart.

Glassman, K.S. (2017). Using data in nursing practice. American Nurse Today, 12 (11), 45-47. Retrieved from

Thew, J. (2016, April 19). Big data means big potential, challenges for nurse execs. Retrieved from

Wang, Y., Kung, L. & Byd, T.A. (2018). Big data analytics: Understanding its capabilities and potential benefits for healthcare organizations. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 126(1) 3-13.

By Day 6 of Week 5
Respond to at least two of your colleagues* on two different days, by offering one or more additional mitigation strategies or further insight into your colleagues’ assessment of big data opportunities and risks. Big Data Risks and Rewards

response 1

Isn’t it ironic in an age where we offer up so much of our personal information on our computers, phones, aps, etc.. there remains a strenuous efforts to safeguard our data? When you stop and try to make sense of this phenomenon, it all comes down to intent. What are the intentions of those accessing data? In the social media field, the intent is for the sake of social interactions. In the medical field, the intent to maintain privacy; because “they” do like to talk! Glassman (2017), references the evolution of a nurse who is privileged to medical information. As a nursing student, we are introduced to health information databases and instructed on how to navigate them. As we apply our practice, we develop an appreciation the safeguards in place to reduce errors and make the administration of care more efficient. As graduate students embarking on a practitioner position, we acquire an understanding about the principles of informatics. We come to realize the full potential of technology’s strengths & weaknesses as we use EMR to safely and effectively administer patient care. Big Data Risks and Rewards

I find your encounter with a celebrity as a patient fascinating on many levels. First off as you mentioned, was the patient’s privacy in relation to the staff caring for him. Burkle and Cascino (2011) did a study about the balance of a celebrities privacy in relation to the public’s right to know. Their conclusions acknowledged the transparency of a celebrity’s status and the fascination of the public, which then drives the media to ascertain information. Despite these circumstances, the privacy of any individual, regardless of status, must remain sacrosanct with a constant observation of the patient’s rights for privacy. With that said, I am wondering why the hospital did not use an alias to protect his identity.

While I cannot validate the hospitals’s reasoning, possibly it had something to do with billing or pairing the data acquired from his stay with his PCPs records for ongoing care. Having completed a literature review on these questions, I am left wondering if the scope of my search was accurate, as I was unable to get the answers to these questions. Possibly, the answers to these questions are not to be divulged. Maybe our healthcare system does have a higher security for HIPPA, for if the public knew the means by which back-office billing connected a VIP alias to the real name or forwarded their hospital information to their PCP we truly would have an incompitant privacy act. Big Data Risks and Rewards


Burkle, C. M., & Cascino, G. D. (2011). Medicine and the media: balancing the public’s right to know with the privacy of the patient. Mayo Clinic proceedings, 86(12), 1192–1196.

Glassman, K. S. (2017). Using data in nursing practice. American Nurse Today, 12(11), 45–47. Retrieved from

response 2

I totally agree, using Big Data will reduce the time for recording the data and analyzing the records of the patients, and carrying out audits. Electronic Health Records when linked to devices like cardiac monitors will prove to be very beneficial in determining the best treatment for the patient by considering their previous record (Brennan & Bakken, 2015). But there is also a drawback to the usage of Big Data, which is open access to very confidential data of an individual (Glassman, 2017). To mitigate this risk special care should be taken regarding who can access the data. In each medical unit, someone should be assigned the task of overlooking the process of recording and accessing the data to ensure confidentiality is not breached.


Brennan, P. F., & Bakken, S. (2015). Nursing Needs Big Data & Big Data Needs Nursing. Journal Of Nursing Scholarship, 477-484.

Glassman, K. S. (2017). Using data in nursing practice. American Nurse Today, 12(11), 45–47. Retrieved from Big Data Risks and Rewards