A novel form of database that focuses on connections between entities, called a graph database, is finding a home in the health care industry.
“In health care, it turns out, there are quite a number of problems that involve understanding the connections between things,” said Philip Rathle, vice president of products at Neo Technologies, creators of the open source Neo4j graph database.
Diseases may have multiple symptoms. Doctors may belong to multiple heath care networks. There are also relationships between different types of organizations, such as insurance companies and hospitals. In the realm of bioinformatics, multiple connections exist among genes and proteins.
“There are a lot of connections happening, and graphs are good at matching connections,” Rathle said.
Neo has landed a number of enterprise customers in the health care space, including the Curaspan Health Group, GoodStart Genetics, SharePractice and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, among others.