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A big data analytics framework to improve healthcare service delivery in South Africa
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Healthcare facilities in South Africa accumulate big data, daily. However, this data is not being utilised to its full potential. The healthcare sector still uses traditional methods to store, process, and analyse data. Currently, there are no big data analytics tools being used in the South African healthcare environment. This study was conducted to establish what factors hinder the effective use of big data in the South African healthcare environment. To fulfil the objectives of this research, qualitative methods were followed. Using the case study method, two healthcare organisations were selected as cases. This enabled the researcher to find similarities between the cases which drove them towards generalisation. The data collected in this study was analysed using the Actor-Network Theory (ANT). Through the application of ANT, the researcher was able to uncover the influencing factors behind big data analytics in the healthcare environment. ANT was essential to the study as it brought out the different interactions that take place between human and non-human actors, resulting in big data. From the analysis, findings were drawn and interpreted. The interpretation of findings led to the developed framework in Figure 5.5. This framework was developed to guide the healthcare sector of South Africa towards the selection of appropriate big data analytics tools. The contribution of this study is in twofold; namely, theoretically and practically. Theoretically, the developed framework will act as a useful guide towards the selection of big data analytics tools. Practically, this guide can be used by South African healthcare practitioners to gain better understanding of big data analytics and how they can be used to improve healthcare service delivery.