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Big data in healthcare – a few key things you should know

Published:
April 29, 2021
By analyzing massive amounts of patient health data, physicians and clinicians can focus on hard-to-diagnose and rare diseases. The general advantage of using big data in healthcare is that it will substantially improve patient outcomes.
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Gigantic data factory

Big data is the integration of structured and unstructured data collected by various types of organizations. That information can be used for machine learning, predictive modeling, or other advanced analytical applications. These systems are becoming more and more popular, and are used to streamline operations or create personalized marketing campaigns, based on specific and real customer propensities that result in profit.

The powerful impact of digitization

The most visible changes linked with the introduction of big data can be observed in healthcare. In this field, this solution provides a better understanding of patient’s needs and provides them with higher standars of treatment. Currently, medical entities have access to more data than ever. The reason for this is the spread of digital programs, applications, and tools and their increased use in medical practices. Big data in healthcare refers to a multitude of health data that comes from sources that include but are not limited to electronic medical records, genomic sequencing, payers records, medical imaging, pharmaceutical research, wearables, or medical devices. Such activities have caused big data to significantly transform the method of managing, analyzing, and applying data in various sectors. In this area, the use of such solutions focuses on the representation of the vast amounts of information that have been gathered as a result of the popularization of digital technologies.

Read more: Digital transformation – widening gap or increased awareness?

Areas where big data is changing healthcare

Healthcare analytics can significantly reduce medical costs, predict outbreaks, avoid preventable diseases and improve the quality of treatment in a general sene. Nowadays, collecting and processing large amounts of records is much easier, mainly due to ever-improving technologies. These activities lead to the creation of accurate healthcare reports, which can then be transformed into critical insights and later used to provide better care. We can highlight a few areas where these types of efforts will positively impact healthcare:

  • Telemedicine – has been around for many years, but has recently become vastly popular thanks to online video conferencing, smartphones, and wireless devices. Doctors are using telemedicine solutions to provide personalized treatment plans and also, to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations or subsequent hospital admissions. Such healthcare data analytics can be paired with the use of predictive analytics. This will allow doctors to react well in advance to unexpected events and enable them to prevent patient’s conditions from worsening. Apart from this, telemedicine helps to reduce costs and improve the quality of services.
  • Increasing patient engagement – there is already a huge interest in smart devices that record patient data. This may refer to, steps, heart rate, sleep habits, and medications. The information collected can be compared with other records to identify potential health risks.
  • Real-time alerts – clinical decision support (CDS) software supports the work of physicians in hospitals. It involves analyzing data and then providing prompts to physicians as they make clinical decisions.

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