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Q&A: The Key to Healthcare Big Data Analytics

Learn how wire data has become the linchpin of successful big data analytics at Phoenix Children's Hospital.

Big Data for Healthcare IT by ExtraHop

Big data for Health IT is acknowledged as a huge opportunity, but the healthcare industry is drowning in IT initiatives. To simplify things, savvy health IT teams are taking advantage of real-time wire data monitoring so that instead of overwhelming them, the data makes them better at their jobs. just posted an in-depth Q&A with David Higginson, CIO of Phoenix Children's Hospital, and John Vaux, an IT Service Professional at Phoenix Children's, discussing how real-time wire data monitoring has become the linchpin for their successful Big data analytics project.

Below are a few of our favorite excerpts. Head over to HealthITAnalytics for the full Q&A.

How complex is Health IT, really?

David Higginson: We have about 180 different vendor systems in operation at the hospital, ranging from meal service for the patients to the most sophisticated radiology and cardiology imaging products available.

A children's hospital is a microcosm of every part of life, so we have a school, we have a cafeteria; we have a security department – just a vast array of systems. And on top of that, we have all of our infrastructure.

There are a lot of sites, and a lot of pieces of clinical equipment that attach to the network and produce data that have to be monitored and often can go rogue. Everyone's got a niche product, and everything has to be monitored, and sometimes it's hard to develop a really controlled growth pattern for these things.

What are the benefits of wire data monitoring?

David Higginson: So, one of the challenges with the typical approach is that you generally wait until you've got a problem, then you turn on the monitoring. And then, just like when you take your car to the dealership, the problem never reproduces itself for the three hours you spend watching it.

So, the advantage of using a wire data monitoring tool is that it's always on. So, whenever something happens, we can immediately go back to whatever timeframe we need to and start looking at where the issue lies.

You can take the network data, the storage data, the compute data, and maybe the actual things happening inside the database and time-sync them together, so that you can really see how all five or six factors that affect the environment are all operating at the same time. That's much more efficient than looking in six different tools and trying to piece that picture together."

John Vaux:

for what their systems are actually doing.

Read the full article at, or try the ExtraHop online demo to explore healthcare-specific HL7 scenarios such as failed orders, ICD-9 detection, patient flow, and patient safety.

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