Commentary: The Database Revolution Happening In Healthcare

Roger Foster | Government Health IT | September 3, 2014

Call it a “tech-tonic” shift measuring 7.0 on the disruption scale.  We’re talking about the enterprise Relational DataBase Management System (RDBMS) industry. The battle lines are being drawn between startup technologies wrapped around specialized Not only Structured Query Language (NoSQL) hardware, software, and services against the traditional RDBMS vendors — and healthcare business executives, hospital CIOs and federal leaders around the Washington Beltway would be wise to understand the disruptive implications.

Several reasons for this type of NoSQL approach include greater simplicity of design, horizontal scaling, better data availability controls, lower cost development and maintenance, and greater interoperability. The NoSQL data structure is typically a key-value, graph, or document, versus the traditional relational database row/column structure, and, as such, some searches can be faster in NoSQL while some may still be faster in the RDBMS environment, depending on the type of problem.

Currently, Venture Capitalists are pouring money into NoSQL and related Hadoop ecosphere investments, realizing that the new technology offers a way to develop data-driven applications faster and at lower cost, address structured and unstructured data, and enable access to silos of disparate data. Many early Big Data projects have utilized some version of the Hadoop operating environment in their solution...