Healthcare sector startups are ripe for exploiting NoSQL graph databases. With a data model predicated on nodes/vertices and relationships/edges, graph databases provide a sturdy means to probe connections between entities, especially the farther removed from each other they are.

Healthcare organizations can “realize new opportunities and efficiencies by leveraging the connections within their existing data: be it in a connected genome, or a provider network, or patient treatments,” said Emil Eifrem, CEO of Neo Technologyin a recent statement summarizing the graph database company’s traction in the healthcare space. Among the healthcare customers now using its Neo4j technology, Neo listed in its announcement new-market entriesHealthUnlocked, which relies on the graph database to relate millions of free-text terms used in its social network for health to an applicable health sphere; GoodStart Genetics, which enables scientists to conduct ad-hoc queries to discover the data they need within research and development information repositories; and U.S. physician network Doximity.

Life sciences and Big Data analytics platform company Zephyr Health is another health-focused startup that’s leveraging graph database technology as one important component of its service offerings. The three-year-old venture-based company takes data in a variety of forms from some 3500 sources – including public sources such as and PubMed, as well as private data from partners and from customers’ own internal systems – to help pharmaceuticals and medical device companies understand and segment their target markets within a hierarchy or ontology of predefined categories, such as who publishes the most research in a certain area and who has formal leadership positions in particular fields.

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