Can Big Data Help In Medical Treatment?

Big Data has almost become a household name for anyone who knows a thing or two about technology. And why wouldn’t it be? The amount of data generated in two days now is almost equal to the data generated from the beginning of civilization until 2003. Though almost every other domain has been tasting success from the harnessing of this large amount of data, health care has somehow just begun.

Let’s take a look at what all can be achieved.

Clinical Analytics: All over the world, health records are increasingly getting digital. This will result in large databases that can be effectively used to glean insights into several health programs and the overall health of the people. The rapid progress that has been made in analytics will be instrumental in achieving these insights and thereby improving care and reducing costs in several fields such as high-cost patients, readmissions, triage, adverse events, etc.

Improved Care:How can Big Data possibly help health services? Well, it can tell which treatments are safe and efficient – with evidence;compare the outcome of different delivery models; and predict models to diagnose, treat, and deliver optimum care. It can also help companies understand effects of consumer behaviour and help them design better benefits packages.

However, before all this is achieved, Big Data in the field of healthcare needs to be sorted from the messy soup that it is into an ordered and integrated resource located in a safe and secure environment. That will require initiatives that will have to boost the generation of high-quality evidence for comparative-effectiveness, the translation of knowledge into development of new models, and quality and delivery of care.

Reduction of costs: According to Pennsylvania-based health insurer Independence Blue Cross, there has been a reduction of a staggering 40% within just a year in the number of patients with heart diseases who have participated in a program where information regarding their health care usage and outcomes are recorded and analyzed to detect patterns and trends and suggestions made to avoid possible problems down the road.

These suggestions are carried out by health coaches who are referred to patients with chronic illnesses,such as COPD and congestive heart failure. These coaches then interact with the patient’s doctor and nurses and ensure that preventative care is arranged for. The reduction in re-admissions of vulnerable patients not only contributes towards great health care savings but also an improved life for the patient. Independence serves 10 million people in 24 states of the U.S.

Though there are several examples such as the above that suggest the benefits of allowing clinical data to be stored and utilized for analytics purposes, the Big Data movement receives criticism from traditional data collection and new analytical methods. That is why, the participation of users at every stage – patients, doctors, and policy makers – is important to address the seemingly difficult cultural challenge. As the research team presents clear data to other participants, transforming the knowledge into practical application will become easier and a key to the movement’s success.

Do you feel that health records should be analysed for gleaning insights? Share your opinions in the comments section.

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