Big data analytics in healthcare: promise and potential

Wullianallur Raghupathi and Viju Raghupathi


To describe the promise and potential of big data analytics in healthcare.


The paper describes the nascent field of big data analytics in healthcare, discusses the benefits, outlines an architectural framework and methodology, describes examples reported in the literature, briefly discusses the challenges, and offers conclusions.


The paper provides a broad overview of big data analytics for healthcare researchers and practitioners.


Big data analytics in healthcare is evolving into a promising field for providing insight from very large data sets and improving outcomes while reducing costs. Its potential is great; however there remain challenges to overcome.


Big data; Analytics; Hadoop; Healthcare; Framework; Methodology

Citation: Wullianallur Raghupathi and Viju Raghupathi Big data analytics in healthcare: promise and potential Health Information Science and Systems 2014, 2:3 doi: 10.1186/2047-2501-2-3

Received: 27 August 2013 Accepted: 5 January 2014 Published: 7 February 2014

Copyright:  © 2014 Raghupathi and Raghupathi; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited.


Big data analytics has the potential to transform the way healthcare providers use sophisticated technologies to gain insight from their clinical and other data repositories and make informed decisions. In the future we’ll see the rapid, widespread implementation and use of big data analytics across the healthcare organization and the healthcare industry. To that end, the several challenges highlighted above, must be addressed. As big data analytics becomes more mainstream, issues such as guaranteeing privacy, safeguarding security, establishing standards and governance, and continually improving the tools and technologies will garner attention. Big data analytics and applications in healthcare are at a nascent stage of development, but rapid advances in platforms and tools can accelerate their maturing process.

Competing interests

We, the authors declare we have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

Both WR and VR contributed equally. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.