Smart healthcare: Big data for better health

Tue, 2013-06-18 13:49 -- Jesse Berst

The Smart Cities Council is hard at work on a Readiness Guide for cities. As part of that effort, our team is investigating all the things that make a city more livable, workable and sustainable. The work has opened our eyes to the importance of healthcare. There's so much money at stake. And so many quality of life issues. I would go so far as to say that cities that fail to solve the healthcare crisis will be at competitive disadvantage a decade from now. Fortunately, data analytics offers great hope, as illustrated by the example below from Council member General Electric. -- Jesse Berst


A GigaOm story highlights an artificial intelligence system that GE says can use historical data to predict the future. In healthcare, for instance, the platform called Corvix might predict how a disease will spread or what areas will need more hospitals the most.

Corvix uses what is referred to as "agent-based modeling" to build out a complex system and then simulate how it will evolve over time.

In a GE blog, GE Healthcare Chief Economist Mitch Higashi explained it this way: “We are converting big data into intelligent data. We are creating digital clones of human beings and they live out their lives in the cloud. It’s almost like running different versions of the future. How does the population health trajectory change over time? We can accelerate getting to the right answer.”

And given the power of Big Data today, he believes the time is right for a platform like Corvix that can help solve real-world problems.

“One day, all policy will be developed in the digital world before being implemented in the real world,” Higashi said. “… There is not a better way to plan your resources for the future. … (If you have $400 or $500 million to build hospitals), you don’t get to do a redo.”

Jesse Berst is the founding Chairman of the Smart Cities Council. Click to subscribe to SmartCitiesNow, the weekly newsletter highlighting smart city trends, technologies and techniques.