How Big Data will transform healthcare in 2019
We are living in an era where there is more access to valuable data than ever before. From online purchases to wearables to social media participation and smart device usage, we generate a lot of information and statistics with just our day-to-day activities. All of this info is being collected and analyzed in order to provide us with a better quality of life, especially when it comes to healthcare.
Big Data shows big promise in medicine. In a recent International Data Corporation (IDC) report entitled The Digitization of the World – From Edge to Core, the company predicts that the amount of healthcare data will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 36 percent, which is greater than all other industries. More and more companies are scrambling to create applications and solutions that capitalize on this growing trend.
How Big Data is changing healthcare
It makes sense that the healthcare industry stands to benefit the most from advancements in how information is gathered and analyzed. We’re talking life-changing and in a lot of cases, life-saving, consequences.
In the United States especially, healthcare has long been the subject of debate in terms of access and affordability. Big Data is helping hospitals and medical professionals to deliver more efficient care to more people in a much more affordable manner. It’s also giving individuals the power to improve their own health.
This graphic points out all the areas in which Big Data plays a role in our modern-day healthcare system. When you consider the number of sources collecting different types of information, you start to understand the advantages of Big Data analytics and how this technology can have a huge impact on the entire healthcare industry.
Let’s take a closer look at how Big Data in medicine is driving big changes.
Medical and insurance records
One of the main benefits of Big Data in healthcare is the automation and digitization of the medical records process, which gives doctors faster access to a patient’s full medical history. This provides them with a more holistic view and more time to concentrate on the right treatment plan.
Patients also benefit from access to all of their medical data and can use it when shopping for insurance, filing claims, or to enter into their wearable devices as they monitor their health and fitness on a daily basis.
The democratization of medical records gives patients more control over their own medical history and allows doctors the ability to become more patient-centric as opposed to administrative.
The popularity of fitness trackers like Fitbits and even basic pedometers and smart watches has led to consumer obsession with personal health monitoring. The data collected and analyzed by these devices provides users with an easy way to track and improve their daily health habits and reduce the chances of various diseases.
Now we have even more advanced wearable devices that collect and transmit valuable medical information to both the patient and their doctor or medical team. Apps such as KardiaMobile and CONTOUR®NEXT ONE help heart attack patients and diabetics monitor their health in a whole new way.
The information being collected from all of these devices can be used for research as well. For example, data from apps that track sleep patterns can be analyzed to find ways to treat insomnia, sleep apnea, and other problems. Consumers have the option to “opt-in” and share their information with third-party vendors or not.
Services such as Ancestry DNA and 23andMe have become extremely popular. The healthcare data analytics collected by all of these genetic testing apps is being used to understand and fight hereditary diseases.
Even the big tech giants are jumping on the genetic research bandwagon. This year, Microsoft and Google invested $58M in the startup DNAnexus, which is a cloud-based solution for DNA research.
Big Data combined with biotechnology may just be what leads to cures for many of the world’s worst diseases.
What will Big Data bring to healthcare in 2019?
We already know that Big Data is making a big difference in healthcare right now. But what’s next? What advancements will be made in the new year and the new decade to follow? Here are some predictions.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) combined with Big Data and machine learning in healthcare will play a much bigger role in new applications and solutions.
- Blockchain technology will be used to keep patient data safe and secure and to help with HIPPA compliance regulations.
- Robotics will become more common in hospitals and care centers and will serve to enhance surgical procedures and handle routine repetitive tasks.
- Insurance companies will no longer be running the industry as consumers become more selective with their options and take more responsibility for their own healthcare. Mobile applications that allow for doctor consultations via chat or even medical chatbots to answer questions will replace unnecessary trips to the doctor’s office or emergency room.
The use of Big Data in healthcare not only makes us healthier, but also helps the medical industry itself become more efficient, modern, and most importantly – more affordable.
The sky really is the limit when it comes to how Big Data can transform healthcare in the future. Forward-thinking companies that are investing in HealthTech solutions stand to see the most gains from the Big Data revolution.
Big Data can lead to big results. More importantly, it can change, improve, and even save lives.