Blending Structured and Unstructured Data to Develop Healthcare Insights

When health IT professionals use the term, “big data,” they generally refer to the use of structured and unstructured data. Together, these concepts are reshaping discussions in health IT. This paper (1) introduces the concepts of unstructured and structured data in healthcare, (2) provides a process illustration of their data flow, (3) discusses mini case studies demonstrating new insights that can come from blending these types of data and (4) outlines recommendations for next steps for processing the growing volumes of electronic health data to improve patient care.