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5 Notable Digital Trends in the Healthcare Industry

June 25, 2019
5 Notable Digital Trends in the Healthcare Industry

As with many industries, healthcare has made strides to become more digital over the years. This trend has resulted in multiple improvements toward patient care and internal systems, and the push to digitize the healthcare industry isn’t slowing down anytime soon. From new ways to treat patients to improving electronic health records, here are some notable trends in the healthcare industry.

Virtual Care

As technology advances, more healthcare providers have shifted to providing convenient consultations in a virtual or mobile setting. Virtual care offerings like telemedicine and remote patient monitoring devices have led to affordable, effective ways to provide care that’s both convenient to practitioners and patients. As patients and doctors become more tech savvy, virtual care allows doctors and other healthcare professionals to see more patients and give these patients access to experts without having to worry about being in a different location at set times.

Wearables/Internet of Things

Health-based wearable items aren’t a new discovery, but more healthcare organizations are turning to the Internet of Things (IoT) and data-sharing devices to help learn more about patients. Wearable devices allow healthcare professionals to track important data in real time whether patients are in a medical facility, at home, or anywhere else. The IoT allows these professionals to then collect that data for and add it to electronic health records and other files that these professionals will need to access to determine treatment methods and make other data-based determinations.

The Cloud

Yahoo Finance estimates that the global healthcare cloud computing market will continue to grow from now through 2026, reaching a $40 billion market value at that time. As the healthcare industry continues to grow, more hospitals and other organizations are turning to move their IT infrastructure off premises and to affordable, scalable hosted search solutions that allow them to free up physical space and cut staffing costs.

Increased Security

As hospitals collect more personal information and invest in more internet connectivity through the internet of things and cloud-based data, the more they need to take cybersecurity seriously. BusinessWire reports that IoT-related data breaches rose from 15 to 26 percent since 2017. As healthcare data becomes more digital – which it will – it’s imperative that the healthcare industry continue to increase security efforts to protect both medical institutions and patients from cyberattacks. As a result, security spending should continue to rise in the healthcare industry.

EHR Optimization

Electronic health record systems are commonplace in the healthcare industry, but more organizations are taking steps to make their data more accessible and interactive. Investments in new data infrastructure, such as databases that can store and retrieve vast amounts of structured data, have allowed organizations to clean up their electronic health records. This shift allows healthcare professionals to easily organize and retrieve information through a database management system – as long as they also have the right search technology to search internal and external information for an entire organization.

Achieve Flexible Data Management Through Enterprise Search Technology

As the medical industry becomes more digital, there will be even more ways to collect and access important information. As a result, it’s increasingly important that healthcare organizations invest in the right search technology so that users always have access to the right information. Not only will this improve interoperability, better access to complete patient information allows healthcare professionals to provide a truly value-based care system for their patients.

For example, flexible data management allows medical practitioners to find what they need right away, whether they’re using a desktop or a mobile device. If a doctor needs to look up drug facts for a patient, they can filter their search to find the right information. Meanwhile, the system can also anonymize information if it recognizes personal information. This allows researchers to reference case information without seeing patient names or other sensitive info in search snippets. It can even block access to certain users to keep your organization compliant with HIPAA.

When you need to achieve flexible data management, Thunderstone can help. Our suite of search engine software and applications features the fully integrated structure of an SQL relational database (RDBMS) that intelligently queries and manages databases of up to hundreds of millions of records. This gives you the ability to store and search massive text documents within standard database table.

Don’t settle for a search solution that doesn’t give you complete access to your data. Request a demo today to test out Thunderstone’s enterprise search solutions for yourself or contact us to talk to one of our experts about we can help your organization control its information.

The Difference Between Search Software, Hardware, and Other Options

June 25, 2019
The Difference Between Search Software, Hardware, and Other Options

While a Search Appliance can be an attractive option in many circumstances there are several possible ways to get a search solution depending on your preferences. The different possible delivery methods include hardware-based appliances, software, and service-based models. We’ll look at the different methods that exist and the pros and cons of each to help you make the right decision.

Hardware-Based Search Appliance

The hardware-based search appliance is a popular approach, and maybe the one you had in mind when you started investigating search solutions.

Some of the main advantages are that it is a self-contained solution that you can install in your data center with little effort. As an appliance from a single vendor, you have a single point of contact for any technical issues you may have, so there won’t be any finger pointing between the hardware vendor, operating system vendor, and application vendor. If something goes wrong, a single support call should resolve the problem. Of course, you should make sure that your vendor is equipped to handle your support calls and know how long it will take to fix any problems.

Another key advantage is that you don’t need to provision additional servers to run the application on or worry about incompatibilities between your hardware and operating system and the application. It just works when you take it out of the box and put it in the rack. The flip side of that is if you already have a uniform hardware environment that you like or are moving towards a virtualization environment a separate hardware appliance does not necessarily fit in well.

Virtual Appliance

If you already have a virtualization program under way, then a virtual appliance may be the right solution for you. What is a virtual appliance? Simply put, it is an image of the appliance that you can load onto a virtual server in your virtualization environment. It has all the same features of the hardware appliance.

What are the advantages of the virtual appliance? Similar to the hardware appliance, it is a self-contained image, so you don’t need to worry about operating system or software installs. Since you are providing the hardware for the virtual appliance, you can most likely use existing hardware you have and share it with other services.

In addition, most virtualization environments can also provide fault tolerance, or at least an easy way to restart the image on alternate hardware in the case of hardware failure. If you have sufficient spare capacity, you should not have any down time due to hardware problems. Since you are in control of the hardware, you can allocate as many or as few resources to the search solution to achieve the performance you want.

If you don’t have a current virtualization environment, then the additional learning experience of getting started with one is probably not worth it.

Installed Software

Another option is to install the search software on an existing server. If you are comfortable installing software, then this can be an attractive option, as you get more control of the application. Similar to the virtual appliance, you are in control of the hardware resources you make available to the search solution, as well as the backup schedules.

In addition to being in control of the hardware, you also have more flexibility to modify the solution to meet your needs. The source code to the search application is provided, unlike the appliances which are more of a black box.

The main advantages of the software solution are the control over the application, and the ability to choose the hardware it will run on. The disadvantages are that you do need to be familiar with your server’s operating systems and configurations to choose how to install the software in the most efficient manner possible.

Cloud Services

Cloud Services, also known as Software as a Service (Saas), is one of the hot trends in computing today. Essentially, it means that the vendor is hosting the solution for you, so you only need to worry about integrating the service into your existing infrastructure.

Typically, you can pay on some kind of metered service based on how much you use. This has the advantage of typically being quick and easy to set up and not requiring a lot of technical resources on your end. The downside is that the search data is no longer on your infrastructure, and you are reliant on a third party to keep your service running.

Find the Right Enterprise Search Solution for Your Needs

No matter which type of search solution best fits your criteria, it’s important that whatever you choose makes search simpler – and more powerful – for you and your users. It’s important to pick the right search solution instead of a bad choice at a cheaper price. At Thunderstone, we have decades of experience providing reliable, easy-to-use and maintain search engine software and hardware that can be customized to your specific needs and budget.

Ready to end your search for the right search engine software or hardware? Request a demo today to test out Thunderstone’s enterprise search solutions for yourself or contact us to talk to a Thunderstone expert and your organization’s search needs.

Why Does a Relational Database Matter for Search Engine Software?

May 13, 2019
Why Does a Relational Database Matter for Search Engine Software?

Relational databases and search engines don’t “marry” easily, which can lead some people to think to two can’t work in tandem. However, that doesn’t mean that relational databases don’t matter for search engines. While difficult, there are ways that can allow you to take advantage of relational databases through your search engine solution.

Why is a Relational Database Beneficial for Search Engine Software?

Most recent DBMSs are based on the relational data model, which is great for handling complicated queries and database operations. The fundamental organizational structure for data in the relational model involves something called a relation, which is a two-dimensional table made up of rows and columns that stores data about entities. These entities are objects or events. For example, a healthcare organization could list patients, doctors, insurance carriers, and services as entities that require data collection.

Relational columns represent specific data characteristics, such as specific attributes or data items patient names, home addresses, and other details. The rows signify records or occurrences. In our medical example, these could be services or actions completed by doctor, patients, and other similar data items. Every record in a given table is unique, which allows relational search to pinpoint these exact rows and make it easier for people to access their information.

Thanks to these qualities, relational databases offer many advantages that can improve the overall quality of search results. They help enable better sorting and filtering options, such as being able to search for results based on product color, manufacturer, or other specific details. It also allows the search to see past basic text when pulling these results. For example, a normal search for red shoes may lead Red Wing boots to appear simply because of the name. With a relational database, the color and manufacturer are separate attributes, which allows for more accurate results based on intent on not basic text.

How Relational Databases Can Benefit Search Engine Software

In a basic sense, databases serve as electronic rolodexes while search engines act as the index of a book. In other words, a good database houses all your information while a search engine can access information within that database. The challenge here is that relational search needs to properly and thoroughly crawl a wide variety of data sources, understand the relationships between them, and provide accurate, relevant results.

Another challenge is that databases can store and retrieve a lot of structured data, but search engines typically query unstructured text. As a result, it’s difficult to properly design a relational database for search, but it’s immensely valuable when done right.

That’s where Thunderstone can help. Our Texis search software is a database management system (DBMS) which follows the relational database model and addresses any inclusion of narrative full text. Because Texis is based on the versatility of open standard SQL, it can address complicated search requirements. It also serves as an "intelligent agent," allowing users to quickly and easily access complicated information, allowing you to take full advantage of complicated relational databases without it harming your ability to search within your organization.

Complicated isn’t a bad thing when you have the right solution. Request a demo today to test out Thunderstone’s enterprise search solutions for yourself or contact us to talk to a Thunderstone expert about how we can help you harness the benefits of relational search for your organization.

What is the Difference Between a Database and a Search Engine?

February 12, 2019
What is the Difference Between a Database and a Search Engine?

The lines between a database and a search engine aren’t always clear. For the average user, this may not be something they ever consider, but some clarity is beneficial for any business trying to solve any search challenges. Here’s a quick rundown on the differences between a database and a search engine.

What is a Database?

In short, a database is a collection of information that is organized and stored to be accessed for later use. As an example, a manual version of a database would be like a rolodex with specific fields of information. In this scenario, information is recorded on sheets of paper, possibly organized in folders, and stored in a single place where people with access can go and retrieve that information when necessary.

An electronic database operates largely the same way, except all this data is structured to ease of organization and information retrieval. This database is accessed and managed by specific users through a database management system (DBMS). Users with access can then add, update, find, sort, or retrieve data as needed.

What is a Search Engine?

If a database is like a rolodex, then search engines are more like the index of a book—except that it’s a collection of every index for every book you have. Databases and search engines are both capable of search for data and handling queries. Each technology relies on different paradigms to organize and retrieve information. While databases can store and retrieve a vast amount of structured data, search engines can search unstructured text.

Search engines vary greatly in scope. If you ask the average person about search engines, he or she will think of Google and Bing as examples. However, search engines also apply smaller-scale full-text search software, such as those for online publishing, interactive catalogs, classified advertising, digital asset management, intelligence and web searching.

Search engine software makes the process of retrieving relevant information much easier by allowing users to search for information with natural language text. The results will then be organized by relevance, which can include text documents, geographic information, images, video, audio, and other payload data.

Why Not Have Both?

While databases and search engines don’t “marry” easily, there is technology available that offers a true marriage of the two. Thunderstone’s search engine software and search appliances give users the benefits of both thanks to Texis, the core technology for all Thunderstone products.

Texis is the first search engine software available with the fully-integrated structure of an SQL relational database (RDBMS) that intelligently queries and manages databases. This is due to Thunderstone’s Metamorph, a concept-based natural language search engine that uses advanced lexical set logic to intelligently understand search queries and retrieve relevant responses.

Whether your business needs a solution for complex information retrieval challenges or a hosted search appliance, Thunderstone can help. Request a demo for one on Thunderstone’s search engine software today or contact us to talk to a Thunderstone expert about how Texis technology can be a solution for your search challenges.

What is Enterprise Search?

December 13, 2018
What is Enterprise Search?

Information is great until you can’t find it. Over time, businesses and organizations collect a lot of content and data necessary to run a business and drive profits. Unfortunately, all that information isn’t going to help if nobody can find what they need. That’s why organizations invest in enterprise search software and appliances to quickly and easily secure enterprise-wide information.

What Makes Enterprise Search Different from Other Types of Search?

While some types of search can only parse individual repositories, Techopedia defines enterprise search as “a system that facilitates enterprise data research through one or more sources.” Enterprise search is designed to be able to parse through the vast array of information found on multiple repositories to make it easy for different types of users within that enterprise to look for and find the information they need. These sources commonly include:

  • File systems
  • Document management systems
  • Databases
  • Intranets
  • Email

This ability to locate information from multiple repositories is key because it saves users from having to dig through multiple sources to find what they need. This is extremely helpful even if they know which repository houses the information they need. When they’re not sure where it’s stored, it becomes an incredible time saver.

How Does Enterprise Search Work?

Enterprise search software does more than simply search for information. It actively organizes the information found in multiple repositories through means such as metatagging, taxonomies, and categorization to efficiently find and produce results. The search will crawl the various repositories to create a searchable index so that it can logically find information for future queries. From there, a user will use a search interface, such as a search box, and enterprise search will pull results that match the intent of the submitted query and present them in a formatted list.

A big part of why enterprise search can index vast collections of data and provide good results is through advanced technology. For example, Thunderstone’s enterprise search solutions are powered by Texis, an innovative platform that allows organizations to incorporate their own unique knowledge and expertise into customized search solutions.

At the heart of Texis is Metamorph, a concept-based natural language search engine that utilizes advanced lexical set logic. This gives our solutions the ability to provide relevant responses based on user queries, improve autocomplete suggestions, and find other patterns that improve the overall search experience. Since Texis is a search engine that’s developed as a fully-integrated SQL RDBMS optimized for full-text search, it can store and search text documents of unlimited size within standard database tables, in addition to unstructured text, making it extremely beneficial for enterprises with lots of data.

Thunderstone originally developed Texis as the engine to power custom search solutions, with tools for combining structured and unstructured data, real-time updates, large collections, and complex business rules all in one package. Texis gives developers a chance to combine their specific skills and expertise with a powerful search engine. Through Texis, these experts can easily incorporate their knowledge into customized search solutions.

A good enterprise search solution can be the difference between being able to efficiently access important data and lost information. Request a demo today to test out Thunderstone’s enterprise search solutions for yourself or contact us to talk to a Thunderstone expert and your organization’s search needs.