Look Who’s Doing Big Data in Nova Scotia: Matt Hunter, Health Outcomes Worldwide

What kind of data are you working with?
Our data primarily describes wound care. Our clients record various metrics relating to wounds, and the treatments of those wounds.

What kinds of analytics are you using?
We use a custom reporting system to help our clients identify trends and/or issues with wound care.

What are the problems your company is interested in solving?
We strive to improve the quality and efficiency of wound care by identifying issues in the data. The traditional method of recording all of this data on paper charts makes it hard or impossible to derive conclusions from that data over time. By making it as-easy-as-paper for nurses to collect this data electronically, we can provide deep insights into the care provided over time.

How did you get involved in your line of work?
I have been involved in IT for over 15 years, beginning with small-scale web applications and building up to Enterprise class applications. Many of these applications have had to deal with the complexities of analyzing Big Data and reporting meaningful results back to users.

What are you most proud of in your work?
We can show that our analytics results in better care for patients, and better efficiency for our clients. Both of these are great accomplishments in their own right – but the fact that we’re really helping people is what motivates me every day.

What are the biggest challenges in your line of analytics?
Developing methods and procedures to minimize the amount of false-data that makes it into the system. Typically this would be referred to as ‘user error’ – but the problem is deeper than that. We’re constantly working to make it harder (and hopefully someday impossible) for our clients to accidentally enter skewed information without our system either preventing it at entry, or detecting it shortly thereafter through automated reporting.

What’s the best advice you can give someone interested in getting involved in a career in Big Data?
Remain open to change, and work hard to not become locked-into a particular platform, language or technology. Things advance at an incredible pace, and staying on top of — and involved in — these changes will be beneficial not only to your career, but your company as well.

What’s the best thing about doing Big Data in Nova Scotia that you want to share with the world?
Nova Scotia’s lower cost of operations for technology companies has helped to bring more IT to the province. Not only do lower costs help the company directly, but the growing IT presence helps create a bigger pool of local talent upon which the company can draw as it grows.


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