Within two years, 80% of all medical data will be unstructured

The data storage load for medical organizations is going to skyrocket.
Written by Denise Amrich, Contributor on

We are all aware of the growth in medical health records because of changes in regulation. You would think, then, that most of the storage requirements would be for managing and storing those health records.

But the following IBM video states that 80 percent of health data stored in 2015 will be unstructured data, data that doesn't fit into nice rows and columns. Since nearly all medical records subject to the Affordable Care Act are, essentially, form data, that means that a huge amount of the storage required by the medical world isn't a result of that particular set of regulations.

In fact, IBM says that the body of medical knowledge doubles every five years. As imaging improves and M2M grows, more mobile data is captured. More intelligent sensors are deployed, both to home and hospital-bound patients. The data storage load for medical organizations is simply going to skyrocket.

This, of course, leads to another huge problem: Confidentiality and security. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) both require record-keeping safeguards. As medical data explodes in volume, that data protection challenge gets greater and greater.

The following video from IBM explores some of the scope of the problem. It's a marketing video, so keep that in mind, but it gives you a good understanding of the sorts of challenges and solutions that we'll be looking at for medical data storage.

Editorial standards