Big Data in Medicine and Lifestyle

By Dilara Misel, Janosch Jassim, Revazi Chikviladze, Alexandr Korolchuk

Big Data is a broad topic and also a crucial part of medicine and lifestyle. Regardless of whether we talk about health records in hospitals, Smartwear to keep you on track of your daily fitness or an online diagnosis of your disease, Big Data provides nearly endless opportunities in health and medicine, but also many new challenges for our society.

The following summary is divided into three main sectors:

General Public Health: The government point of view


This is the most cost intensive sector of the three. A lot of countries – the US on top – spend too much money on the general public health without considerably increasing people’s life span compared to other countries.

But how does Big Data play a role here?

Nowadays hospitals – as well as the single person – have a vast amount of possibilities to use Big Data to improve the overall health conditions without spending too much money. They can for example use the EHR (Electronic Health Records) Technology which keeps every information about patients (Clinical Data).

Additional Data sources are:

  • Genomic data (the cost per genome is decreased, more information about your ethnic background can be obtained)
  • Mobile apps (Behavior data)
  • Social platforms

With those methods, more medical knowledge/discoveries are being collect.

Data can be accumulated and analyzed for example through health insurance cards that collect lab, pharmacy, radiology and narrative data.


The scale in which Big Data influences the health sector ranges from labs to policy, from molecules and cells to the general population.

Nevertheless, there are also challenges concerning this sector:

  •   Patient sources are complex and heterogeneous.
  •   Large volumes of medical imaging data (e.g. x-rays) have to be handled.
  •   Patients’ behavioral data (e.g. blood pressure at home) have to be captured in order for a therapy to be most efficient.
  •   Data has to be handled confidentially.

      The overall goals why data is collected in the public health sector are:

  •   To lower costs and improve results (through personalized care).
  •   To benefit all components of the health care system: The provider, payer, patient and management.


Another way Big Data is positively influencing the general public is by Home Monitoring and Sensing Technologies that are crucial to develop effective and efficient home-monitoring systems (e.g. Activity Recognition using phone Accelerometers).

 Technologies: New Medical Sensoring Startups


Companies technologies (AI, Big Data+)

Biometric Smartwear, Incentives & Gamification


Pros of Smartwear:

They help the individual to keep track of their

  •    activity.
  •    diet plans.
  •    heart beat during workouts.


Cons of Smartwear:

  • You have to continuously feed it with data in order for it to come up with accurate results.
  • All the data one types in is being saved online.


Example: Valedo

Founded in 1996 in Zurich, Switzerland, Hocoma is an active company that produces medical technology. Hocoma produces lots of medical products and sells them all over the world (“Company,” 2015). One of the most widespread product of the company is “Valedo Sensor” which is used for spine treatment (“Products,” 2016).

Valedo was first introduced in 2014 and soon became popular among people with chronic back pain. It consists of two sensors that are wirelessly connected to your iPad or iPhone. These two sensors are placed on the chest and  on the lower back of the patient in order to track the motion of the body precisely and accurately. They transfer all the data collected from the movement of patient to the computer device during the therapy. Afterwards, the patient is able to check all of his personal data online and see how to improve his or her workout. Additionally it is very important for patients with lower back pain, to always train their lower back muscles as there is a big chance that an atrophy will affect them due to their static position. Furthermore, to make the workout cheerful and interesting, Valedo is connected to the iPad game center and gives users the opportunity to combine gaming and strengthening their back muscles at the same time (“ValedoMotion 2.0,” 2015).

After finishing the workout with Valedo, all the data are uploaded to the company’s server.

Hocoma, the company that produces Valedo, collects all the data from patients and uses it to create innovative and useful medical sensors and products, such as Andago, Erigo and Lokomat (Hocoma, 2014).


Crowd solutions to problem of health


“When trying to solve a problem, two heads are better than one. So what happens when a hundred, a thousand or even a million heads work on your problem?” (Dr. Paul DiCorleto)

Crowd solutions are information collected on an online platform to help people for example getting a diagnosis when they are ill (Links below).

Diagnostics ( solves medical cases)

Patients: Disease specific ( , )



Company. (2015, November 10). Retrieved October 5, 2016, from

Products. (2016, July 14). Retrieved October 5, 2016, from

ValedoMotion 2.0. (2015, January 9). Retrieved October 5, 2016, from

Hocoma (2014, November 18). Valedo – move for a healthy back Retrieved from

Pictures used in this blog entry are taken from the following sources:


One thought on “Big Data in Medicine and Lifestyle

  1. Some of you might have heard of the DKFZ in Heidelberg, Germany before. For the country it represents like the number one research institute dealing with investigations on cancer. Ranging from genomics over immunology to clinical trials they have dedicated their existence to decreasing the cases of cancer and to better help affected patients. Recently, on their official website there appeared an article announcing the use of big data in biomedicine as primary driver for improved analysis and improved treatment. In a collaboration with another institute in Karlsruhe the Helmholtz Data Federation (HDF) was founded. For the coming 5 years nearly 50 million euros will be invested into the project for better organization and higher safety of the data.

    Here is the link to the article (unfortunately I could only find the German version):


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