Rambam Health Care Campus has established itself as a pioneering force in the growing field of Big Data for medical applications, and the hospital is a leader in this field both in terms of data collection and data analysis. Rambam established a computerized database of medical records already in the early 2000s and today the database contains over 20 years’ worth of detailed data culled from patients treated at Rambam during this extensive period of time.
“We have one of the broadest electronic databases in the world, and since the system was designed in-house by our Computer Department, we can make adjustments very quickly, as required,” explains Dr. Ronit Almog, Director of Rambam's Epidemiology Unit and biobank, and Rambam’s chief data scientist.
Moreover, the hospital was the beta site for MDClone, a platform for organizing, accessing, and protecting medical data. In the last three years, Rambam has been influential in perfecting this sophisticated Big Data tool and making the platform as user-friendly and effective as possible.
Rambam’s database contains 2.5 million unique patient health records, representing 25 million unique visits to the ER and to the hospital’s different departments and out-patient clinics. Many different types of data are entered into the central database every day, both structured and unstructured, such as MRI and CT scan images, EKG strips, EMR tables, bloodwork results, and text from medical reports.
Huge efforts have been made to create valid, complete and accurate standardized data. Since a large share of the data is entered by humans and is therefore susceptible to error, Dr. Almog and her team constantly seek to validate the data in order to ensure that answers to queries will be as precise as possible. They ensure that different types of medical data are entered correctly and proactively identify potential problems, using data cleaning techniques to look for mistakes.