Hospital CIOs: Big data efforts need to mature

Despite predictions by some that big data could save as much as $450 billion in healthcare costs, hospital CIOs aren't exactly enamored with current tools and efforts available.

According to's latest survey of its advisory panel, 76 percent of respondents believe that vendors are overpromising when it comes to big data. One CIO said that while the automatic monitoring tools touted by vendors for financial data are "standard," similar tools on the clinical side are "all over the map." Another CIO added that they don't see the big data market maturing for a few more years.

Fifty-two percent of respondents said that while they are using big data tools for some analytics projects, they aren't doing so at a "sophisticated level." Additionally, 66 percent of respondents said that their organization did not have the manpower or skills necessary to take advantage of big data analytical tools at a high level.

Still, most CIOs said that getting their superiors to buy in to the concept that such tools could help the organization was the biggest hurdle to achieving big data success.

At a panel discussion conducted at the Health Privacy Summit in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, healthcare experts determined that big data's role in the industry is still relatively unclear. In particular, they talked about problems concerning patient privacy and consent.

"A lot of our problems come from giving data away," Harvard professor Latanya Sweeney said.

Meanwhile, at the Big Data and Healthcare Analytics Forum, which also took place earlier this month in the nation's capital, hospital officials agreed that the challenge ahead for big data is to understand it and use what is learned to improve care and outcomes.

"We have the data points [to be more predictive], we just have to do a better job of getting our hands around the data and understanding it better," Chris Belmont, CIO at New Orleans-based Ochsner Health System said. "Stick with it."

To learn more:
- here's the survey