For Immediate Release
March 24, 2015
Allison Rafti, +1-703-253-8296

AAMI Journal Probes Challenge of ‘Big Data’ in Healthcare

Aviation and other sectors have been harnessing the power of big data for years. As a result, these industries have witnessed improved safety, finding a way to turn such data into valuable knowledge that can guide decisions and strategies.

March/April 2015 IssueThe cover story of the latest edition of AAMI’s peer-reviewed journal, BI&T (Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology) examines how hospitals and other healthcare facilities are dealing with the challenge of managing an ever-increasing amount of data as more medical devices and systems collect and store information, including confidential patient details.

The article notes that a report by the global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company concluded that despite challenges related to both technology and privacy, “an era of open information” in the healthcare industry is underway, as digitized data, primarily accessed through electronic health records.

Experts estimate that hospitals will produce more than 665 terabytes, or about 697 million megabytes, of data in 2015. That has a lot of implications for the average healthcare technology management (HTM) department, which will have to help ensure the data from alarms, electronic health records, and medical devices are secure, easily accessible, organized, and understandable.

This task may seem daunting, particularly in smaller hospitals, and HTM departments need to take charge. “I think HTM needs to speak up during purchase decisions so that the devices we end up with are able to collect the necessary data,” said Rebecca Gandillon, a biomedical engineer at VA St. Louis Health Care System in Missouri.

One facility profiled in the article, The Johns Hopkins Hospital (JHH) in Baltimore, MD, is tackling the big data challenge head on. Andrew Currie, Hopkins’ director of clinical engineering, said that “the data is almost as important as the hardware itself and can really pay dividends” in terms of enhanced patient safety and quality-improvement projects. Still, while JHH has the resources to fully leverage the power of data, it might prove tougher for smaller facilities to do so.

The article provides tips for how healthcare facilities can make sense of big data and includes insights from experts on what other changes are in store.

In addition to the cover story, the latest BI&T includes a roundtable discussion on best practices in preventive maintenance, a hot topic in healthcare technology. Roundtable participants included George Mills, director of engineering for The Joint Commission, which is the largest accreditation organization for U.S. hospitals, and several notable clinical engineers.

BI&T has a readership of nearly 13,000 and is a benefit of AAMI membership. The award-winning bimonthly journal is dedicated to the developers, managers, and users of medical devices and technology.

AAMI ( is a nonprofit organization founded in 1967. It is a diverse community of more than 8,000 healthcare technology professionals united by one important mission—supporting the healthcare community in the development, management, and use of safe and effective healthcare technology.