Data has always been an important part of business as it is usually used to gain insight into the past and prospects of a business or an activity. While there are different types of data, one of the common forms of data used in analytics is Big Data. Big Data refers to a complex set of data that could be structured or otherwise that allows you to gain deep insights into an activity.
Big data is used in almost all sectors and industries around us. In this article, we will examine the usefulness of Big Data in the healthcare sector.
Overview of big data in the healthcare sector
The use of Big Data in healthcare involves the derivation of insights from healthcare data using predictive, descriptive, and prescriptive analytical methods. When Big Data is used in the healthcare sector, it is used for three main purposes.
The first is to ensure that there is an increase in clinical results, using the data culled from patients.
The second purpose is to increase the productivity of the healthcare workers by leveraging on the data pulled from the operations of the hospital.
And lastly, the third purpose is to increase the revenue generated by a hospital using its financial data.
Given that these three purposes are cogent to the sustained operation of the healthcare sector, the use of Big Data in Healthcare is expected to skyrocket in coming years. More than that, the need for the healthcare sector to leverage the abilities of Big Data stems from the realization that the sector is the largest employer of labor in the United States of America. The sector accounts for about 20% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
With this background information, experts have projected that the use of Big Data in the healthcare sector will reach the compound annual growth rate of about 22.07% while hitting $34 billion by 2022. Another report also envisaged that the CAGR of the big data market will get to about 36% in 2025.
From all of these projections. It is clear to see that there are huge expectations of the adoption of Big data in healthcare. Apart from increasing the increased revenue stream and worth of the sector, Big Data tends to help the sector perform better.
The following are ways through which the use of Big Data helps the healthcare providers perform better:
Electronic Health Records for detailed diagnosis across the country
Electronic Health Records are the computerized versions of the health records of a patient. This means that healthcare providers have faster and easier access to the records of patients with the use of EHR. This faster and easier access spells well for the patient’s treatment.
Every professional in the healthcare sector understands that a successful treatment starts from an accurate diagnosis. The provision of updated and accurate patient information ensures that the service provider can focus on the medical history of the patient and draw useful conclusions from the data. Also, it helps the healthcare provider see any trend in the medical history that could affect the diagnosis. In summary, with the use of Electronic Health Records, which is a form of Big Data, healthcare providers can diagnose patients better and more accurately.
Patient’s predictions to manage healthcare staff
One of the aspects of Big Data is the predictive analysis and this type of analysis can be very useful to get the best out of healthcare professionals. The use of predictive analysis to analyze the data pulled from patients’ feedback could help the hospital of healthcare facility allocate patients and facilities to different staff.
The success of a patient’s treatment is hugely dependent on whether or not they are comfortable with their healthcare provider. To ensure that patients get healthcare staff that they are comfortable with, predictive analysis can be used to make this prediction using data culled from patients’ feedback.
Using data for informed strategic planning of widespread diseases
Another impressive use to which big data has been put in the healthcare sector is the prevention and further widespread of communicable diseases around the world. We saw this happen in real-time during the heat of the coronavirus pandemic. The World Health Organization and other important stakeholders used different analytical methods available to map out strategies to prevent the continued spread of the disease at a time when no vaccine or drug could cure the disease.
One of the concepts that have recently gained huge relevance in the healthcare sector is Telemedicine. It involves the use of computers and other remote means of communication to provide healthcare solutions to patients. This concept ensures that patients and their healthcare providers do not need to meet in person before healthcare service is provided.
However, with big data, the efficacy of telemedicine is turned up a notch. Big data enables the telemedicine platform to become more comfortable and personalized for the patient as the service provider now uses the patient’s health records to provide solutions to the patient. It also ensures that the health care providers can link up with the patient and monitor their treatment and recovery process through the use of healthcare applications.
As an example, some smartwatches calculate the number of steps taken, the number of calories burned, and many other data that deals with health. When all of these data get transferred to the healthcare provider, it helps to determine the state of the patient’s health, and how well they are recovery or undergoing treatment.
Better supply chain management
The supply chain is an important aspect of the healthcare sector, as the industry reportedly spends about one-third of its operating budget on this aspect. The management of the healthcare supply chain is very important because it dictates the purchase and availability of needed resources in the sector. However, the use of manual methods of inventory doesn’t not only affect the supply chain adversely, it also causes hiccups that cost the sector a lot of money.
This is where the use of Big Data comes in. the supply chain generates a lot of data by itself. This data can be analyzed to provide a better strategy and management process for the procurement of healthcare resources, thus making the supply chain better and more efficient.
Suicide, drug overdose, and self-harm prevention
Big data plays an important role in the delivery of adequate mental healthcare services and also the prevention of suicide, self-harm, and drug overdose. Using administrative data on patients undergoing mental healthcare, the healthcare provider can analyze the data to determine which of the patients are at higher risks of committing suicide, harming themselves, or engaging in a drug overdose.
Apart from this, the use of different analytical systems to organize these data and analyze them could also show the best treatment approach suitable for each patient. The suggested treatment methods or approaches are usually correct because these suggestions are made off the back of data pulled from the patients.
Reduce medical fraud and enhance security
One of the downsides of technological advancement over the years is that it has given fraudsters an edge and helped further many fraudulent schemes. The healthcare sector has had its fair share of fraud over the years, despite the level of development witnessed in the sector.
However, the good news is that technology can also help fight fraud, especially in the healthcare industry. With the use of Big Data, healthcare providers can now use the analysis of structured and unstructured data to prevent medical fraud and enhance security.
The analysis of unstructured data helps to ensure that the data pulled from patients remain safe and secured, thus enhancing patients’ privacy. It also seeks to help mitigate prescription fraud by ensuring that people do not forge prescriptions within the industry.
The provision of the patient’s data at the point of care ensures that such patient’s medical history can be checked and the drugs pertinent to their wellbeing administered. It also helps healthcare providers identify possible forged drug prescriptions.
From the points explained in this article, it is clear that the use of Big Data in the healthcare sector, as it is with other industries, has great consequences for the sector. The adoption is useful in many facets of the sector’s operational. However, the increased adoption of Big Data in the healthcare sector may further enhance the effectiveness of the sector and hence data intelligence and related services will be the most-sought after services in the near future.