You don’t have to be a doctor to know that the healthcare industry is evolving rapidly. One force behind the change is Big Data, which is enabling a range of innovations and new opportunities.
Data has long been important for healthcare, of course. For more than a century, doctors have relied on metrics like heart rate, weight and height to help interpret your health and deliver the best care to you.
The advent of Big Data and advanced analytics, however, has elevated the importance of Big Data in healthcare to a totally new level. Data analytics now makes it possible for care providers to gain extremely sharp visibility into an individual’s state of health, as well as to make well informed decisions about future care.
Big Data’s centrality to healthcare is continuing to grow as new tools and technologies make even more innovations possible.
How Big Data is Changing Healthcare
To illustrate just how important Big Data has become to the healthcare industry, let’s look at some examples of the types of changes it is enabling for the industry today.
Measuring Financial Efficiency
It’s no secret that healthcare costs have increased dramatically in recent years in the United States. As costs grow, so does the importance of tracking the efficiency of spending in the industry.
Providers and regulators can do that by using data analytics to assess large-scale spending trends and how they correlate with outcomes. Big Data alone may not solve the cost crisis in healthcare, but it can help in understanding it better.
Just as data analytics help detect and prevent fraud in industries like banking, they can do the same in healthcare. In fact, data analytics helped to save $210.7 million in costs related to health care fraud in a single year, according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid services.
Leveraging IoT to Collect Data
The Internet of Things (IoT) revolution has created vast new opportunities for collecting patient data that go well beyond the basic metrics your doctor used to track. Devices like smartwatches, remote monitors, and even Internet-connected embedded medical devices allow care providers to track all manner of information in order to gain a true 360-degree understanding of patient health. And once you collect all that data, analytics are essential for interpreting it effectively.
Staffing Healthcare Practices
Unless you work in healthcare, you may not give much thought to how complicated it is to make sure providers have the staff they need to deliver the care their patients require, whenever they need it. Practices are addressing this challenge by using data analytics to help predict their patients’ care needs in order to plan the most effective staffing schedules.
Busy healthcare professionals don’t always have time to read every word of all the records and other documents related to their patients – not to mention regulatory policies, financial documents and all the other paperwork that exists in the industry. Big Data can help here by providing the basis for natural language processing techniques that allow computers to parse vast reams of documents and determine the key points automatically.
The healthcare industry is changing fast. Big Data is not the only reason, but it’s one of the major differentiators that will make the next generation’s healthcare experience totally different from the one our parents and grandparents knew.
Of course, leveraging Big Data to achieve the innovations described above requires technology and infrastructure that can take data from any source and turn it into actionable information. On this front, data integration tools like those offered by Syncsort can help.
Learn more about how organizations are putting Big Data to work in healthcare and beyond in Syncsort’s eBook, The New Rules for Your Data Landscape!