The concept of Big Data is changing the way that clinical research can be performed. Cardiothoracic surgeons need to understand the dynamic digital transformation taking place in the healthcare industry. In the last decade, technological advances and Big Data analytics have become powerful tools for businesses. In healthcare, rapid expansion of Big Data infrastructure has occurred in parallel with attempts to reduce cost and improve outcomes. Many hospitals around the country are augmenting traditional relational databases with Big Data infrastructure. Advanced data capture and categorization tools such as natural language processing and optical character recognition are being developed for clinical and research use, while Internet of Things in the form of wearable technology serves as an additional source of data usable for research. As cardiothoracic surgeons seek ways to innovate, novel approaches to data acquisition and analysis enable a more rigorous level of investigatory efforts.