Big data is dividing the world into two distinct categories: the big data haves and have-nots.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries that traditionally are not associated with innovation and change.

But whilst many of its organisations are busy trying to resist or endure the challenges of big data, a handful of start-ups are embracing big data and using it to shake up the entire big pharma and healthcare industry.

This article looks at 5 of them.

#1 Apixio – Google for Doctors

Apixio is a company seeking to centralise medical records in the cloud and allow doctors to use semantic analysis to find everything that they need to know about a patient.

Or put another way… it’s Google for doctors.

Apixio’s technology enables doctors to find records regardless of the various terminologies and department-specific ontologies that are typically used in recording patient medical data. This will hopefully make it easier to provide more effective and efficient treatment to patients.

#2 Alliance Health – Resident Data Scientists

Alliance Health provides social networks for specific medical conditions. And as part of developing these networks the company acquired medical research database Medify… and the need for data scientists to take charge of data analysis.

Such a development could revolutionise the skill sets required by those seeking a career in medicine.

#3 AMAG Pharmaceuticals – Eliminating Passwords

AMAG Pharmaceuticals is a company that is serious about big data, fast file transfer and data security.

So much so that its VP of Information Technology Nathan McBride commissioned 5 cloud security service providers to build a customised security system with one primary goal: to eliminate passwords.

The basic idea involves each employee being equipped with a digitally certified smartphone which – when activated within 6 feet of a laptop or tablet – will authenticate the device so that the employee can access the cloud-based applications that they are specifically authorised and enabled to use.

The overarching goal of this effort is best summed up by Nathan McBride’s statement:

“We’re not letting any confidential data leave our cloud world.”

#4 PatientsLikeMe – Crowdsourcing Medicine

Tapping into the power of crowdsourcing, PatientsLikeMe is a social network that lets users share their medical conditions so they can learn more about treatment options from others experiencing the same symptoms.

And as a bonus, the company gets to invite users to opt-in to observational trials that generate useful data for analysis.

#5 Watson – An AI Doctor

Watson is an artificially intelligent computer system that is able to answer questions posed in natural language. Developed by IBM, its ability to process vast swathes of information is now being deployed in the realm of healthcare.

With Watson being able to sift through approximately 200 million pages of data…as well as analyse and provide a response to the question in less than 3 seconds…this is clearly an application that would be useful to physicians and nurses in identifying diagnosis and treatment options.


We are the company that made Quatrix®, “the easiest way to send files securely online”. If you’re a healthcare organisation, we can help you to send essential data efficiently, securely and easily. Find out how Maytech can help medical businesses today.

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