As the need for better treatments and demand for improved patient care increases, the ability to sift through the vast sources of data and quickly and intelligently extrapolate actionable trends becomes meaningful. With such needs comes the rise of new technology, including the use of big data.
Big data refers to the large volumes of digital data collected from various sources, be it doctor visits, clinical examination results, etc., It shapes the way we manage, analyze, and leverage data in any industry. So, it is no surprise that one of the most promising areas where it is being applied is the healthcare industry.
Why is big data necessary for healthcare?
Big data in healthcare use specific health data of an individual or a population to identify potential disease cures, epidemic preventions, reduction in medical costs, and more.
By far, the most widespread application of big data in healthcare is electronic health records. Each patient has his or her own digital record which includes their demographics, medical history, list of allergies, lab test results, and more. The records can be shared through secure information systems. Additionally, they are available for providers across all sectors – both public and private.
Now that we are living in a digital age, gathering multiple data for medical use has been both costly and time-consuming. Physicians rely more on research and clinical data as opposed to their medical expertise and personal interpretations. However, with continuously improving technologies, it is becoming easier to collect such data and convert it into relevant insights. This is the purpose of big data analytics: to use data-driven findings to predict and solve a health-related problem, resulting in faster treatments and improved clinical outcomes.
Here are 5 ways in which big data is shaping healthcare and modifying the way patients are being treated today:
Big data is transforming how user statistics and vitals can be tracked. As a result, new medical innovations have been introduced for treating wounds and keeping individuals out of the hospital. By identifying potential health issues and predicting healing, providing care is possible before the situation has the chance to worsen.
Big data can be a good approach to reducing costs for hospitals that either underbook or overbook clinical staff. By predicting patterns in admission rates, predicting future admission trends and staff allocation is plausible. It can also save patient wait times since the hospital will have adequate staff and rooms available as per the analysis.
Enhancing patient engagement
Many current and potential patients already have an interest in smart devices that allow them to monitor their own health. They can record their heart rate, blood pressure, sleeping habits, etc. With big data, patients can become more engaged and a bit more independent, reducing unnecessary visits to the doctor.
Assisting patients at high-risk
Having digitized health records, the health pattern of many patients can be accessed and understood over time. Big data can identify patients who are regularly admitted to the hospital and provide an insight into appropriate measures to reduce their frequent visits. It is a beneficial approach to assisting patients at high-risk and offering them personalized care.
Preventing medical errors
Often times, it has been noted that health care providers may prescribe the wrong medication or treatment. Seeing as how big data can be used to analyze user data, such medical errors can be reduced. The data can be a great tool for providers who tend to numerous patients on a daily basis, thereby improving life-saving outcomes.
Advancing the healthcare industry
Big data can be of great benefit for advances in both science and technology. Specifically, in healthcare, artificial intelligence has the potential to sort through numerous data within seconds and to find solutions to various ailments. Such advances are already underway and they will continue to grow with the amount of research gathered by big data. Not only will this result in accurate solutions, but customized solutions for unique problems as well.
Without question, big data is transforming the healthcare industry with an intent to treat. Looking ahead, the interventions of tomorrow will be the information gained thanks to better insights into patients’ needs, preferences, and motivations. Big data is showing great promise in further improving patient care, benefiting providers and hundreds of thousands of patients.