Our world is increasingly data-driven. Data informs everything we do, from deciding what to watch to optimizing advertising and strategic business planning. In healthcare, there are countless applications for big data that could make medical facilities more efficient, safe, and effective. Data also has the potential to improve the patient experience.
While big data has been somewhat slow to catch on in the field of healthcare due to privacy concerns, it is finally becoming an essential tool as electronic health records have become standard. Here are some of the many ways big data is boosting healthcare services.
Big Data is Revolutionizing the Hospital Itself
One of the biggest innovations in hospital design has been the smart hospital, which is made possible by big data and artificial intelligence (AI). Smart hospitals integrate advanced technologies to track and automate many different essential tasks within the facility. Scanners track people and resources within the building, while routine services like laundry and meal delivery are completed with far less manual labor.
Thanks to big data, the hospitals of tomorrow will look much different than those of the past. Smart hospitals will offer more focused services and should be able to admit and serve patients more efficiently and effectively. With big data offering the ability to share patient information between healthcare providers, a more decentralized, patient-focused approach will be possible and could help to improve care while reducing costs.
More Data & Analytics Equals More Insight on Patient Health
We’ve come a long way in healthcare, but there are still many health problems and illnesses we don’t fully understand or have the ability to treat. Doctors are also still learning about how different factors affect overall health and risk for developing certain diseases. Big data has been immensely helpful in giving doctors more insights into individual and community health concerns by quickly spotting patterns in huge datasets and making connections that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Different types of data analytics are important in healthcare. Descriptive analytics allow healthcare professionals to gain insights from historical patient data, while predictive analytics helps doctors to make decisions about public health and individual treatment plans.
Improving Value and Quality of Care Through Big Data
Healthcare in the United States is notoriously expensive. Many patients feel that the value of the care they receive is not in line with the cost and might have to deal with inconveniences like long wait times. Big data alone won’t ensure that patients get quality care, but it can make a difference in helping providers improve patient experiences and outcomes.
Big data is helping to shift the healthcare industry toward a new model of care that focuses on wellness and preventative medicine, rather than intervention. Using analysis, doctors are developing new best practices for treating diseases and encouraging patients to lead healthier lifestyles with fitness trackers and other wearables. By focusing on maintaining health and catching problems early in their development, healthcare professionals can improve care and outcomes, resulting in fewer invasive interventions.
Real-Time Insight & Alerts
People with chronic conditions sometimes spend a lot of time in the hospital. In many cases, they are unable to live alone and must move to assisted living facilities or nursing homes. Not only does this reduce overall quality of life, but it is also extremely costly.
Big data offers some patients an alternative: real-time alerts. Wearables can continuously monitor vital signs like heart rate or blood pressure and alert doctors if there is a sudden spike or drop. In these situations, the doctor could guide the patient through the steps they need to take and dispatch an ambulance if necessary.
Remote monitoring is convenient and can allow some patients to maintain their independence. Big data is helping elderly patients enjoy their lives with the peace of mind that their health is being monitored. These devices are also being used to identify trends and to give healthcare providers even more insights into various health conditions.
Everyone is unique. We all have different sensitivities, risk factors, and health needs. But before big data, it was difficult, if not impossible, to offer personalized care that took these different factors into account. Now, data analytics can use a patient’s electronic health records to predict future health concerns and create custom treatment plans.
Personalized care is becoming reality as more patient data becomes available. The more we understand about how different factors interact, the better we’ll be at managing our individual health.
Everyone wants to be treated like an individual. Everyone wants to know that they’re receiving the best care possible. And with big data, more patients might soon be walking out of the hospital or clinic feeling a lot better about their experience.