One of the greatest demands that has been placed at the feet of healthcare professionals is to do their job better and to do it with less money out of pocket. This is a daunting task for any expert in their own field, but had seemed almost insurmountable for doctors and other in the medical business. A tool was employed to do what had been done in other sectors of industry, with great success, yet hadn’t been applied to health and medicine. That tool was big data.
Within in the healthcare industry there are not only expectations for better care at a lowered cost, but also governmental guidelines and laws. This is a lot to shoulder for any industry, especially one that handles everything from colds and flu to cancer and end-of-life decisions. For these and many other reasons, healthcare seeks out and utilizes the many parts that make up big data.
Part of what big data had been successful at doing elsewhere includes reducing inefficiencies, redundancies, fraud and errors. All of this is very applicable to the daily duties with any healthcare organization, and thus is seen as the precise tool to aid in the betterment of patient care and many other behind-the-scenes aspects.
Huge amounts of data are being collected everyday within the confines of just healthcare alone. This data is being stored digitally for easy access, but the true potential for this data is found when analytics are applied, which uncovers the usable data patterns and significant information pockets. Just as data points plotted on a chart indicate trends, big data analyses or reports unlock undiscovered patterns and relations that were not apparent before this process.
With the accumulation of data, which produces a more transparent picture of events, accuracy is improved. As much as each of us like to think that we are unique, our bodies are quite similar and react similarly in comparable circumstances. This means that patients that present with symptoms that are akin to one another are probably suffering from the same ailment.
Even in rare sicknesses, if physicians had the insight provided from big data to know what a patient was dealing with, diagnosis and treatment can be ascertained and started more quickly, leading to the possibility of better results.
Additionally, big data provides for real-time decision making, which improves overall care whether that is handled through a clinical or hospital environment. Real-time assessments includes the ability for the treating physician to access your electronic health record (EHR). This contains your health history with any allergies, current prescriptions, prior surgeries and any other details that would aid in avoiding negative outcomes.
As previously stated, margins for errors are decreasing, yet big data furnishes the ability to make data-driven strategies and decisions. To be able to offer care in a more predictive manner rather than reactive guarantees more positive results at a lower cost due to preventing added treatment times and resources. This translates to other departments within a healthcare system when they are able to prevent waste, errors and other vital resources from being dedicated where they could otherwise be handled more efficiently rather than on a crisis basis.
With a well-managed data system, big data will insure patient privacy, while still supplying healthcare efforts with crucial data and patterns. Many individuals worry greatly that their information is available to the highest marketing bidder or is one hack away from being out on the internet. Security measures should never be compromised, and strict adherence to internal protocols for data protection must be met. However, having big data analytics and management does not open a system up to being more vulnerable.
Big data is truly one of the most effective tools to be implemented within the healthcare industry. With several notable advantages for an organization and their patients, along with very few if any drawbacks, big data provides intricate details and broad painted pictures to help give all involved a better path to follow. Just because healthcare is a little late in adopting the game doesn’t mean that they aren’t reaping the benefit and improving care at the same time.