The terms “big data” have been tossed around so much in the past few years that many people see them as nothing but buzz words. And while it’s true, they are buzz words, they also signify a very large and very real trend that is happening across a huge number of industries right now. As technology continues to progress and evolve, big data plays an even bigger role and is causing sectors and businesses to reimagine processes and systems.
Nowhere is the use of big data more evident and important than in the healthcare sector. So let’s peel back the layers and take a look at how important big data is to healthcare.
Electronic health care records have transformed the industry
Perhaps the most important and obvious use of big data in the healthcare industry is the introduction of electronic healthcare records. Rather than a patient’s records being kept on file in one location, only available to that one provider, suddenly their records are accessible in real-time across the board. This is a win-win for healthcare professionals that need accurate and timely patient history information, and it ensures that patients are getting the best care possible.
The introduction of trackable data
Taking it a step further, big data has also made it possible to gather more in-depth information that patients can use in their everyday life. Patient engagement has been greatly increased thanks to trackable data through wearable devices. You can use the smartwatch as an example, which can track such information as heart rate, the steps taken, calories burned, sleeping data, and so forth. Now imagine that data on a grander scale and how a patient and their physician can use it to better their treatment plan.
Improve cost-effectiveness in the healthcare sector
There is also a financial benefit in using big data as it can shed light on areas that need improvement where efficiency is concerned. Making a facility more efficient equates to cost savings, better patient care, and having the right kind of staff and the right levels of staffing.
Big data can be used to create informative reports
Because big data is based on collecting information, there’s also the fact this can be compiled into reports that shed light on all kinds of issues, potential problems, and areas for improvement. HEDIS reporting can examine such things as the experience of care, effectiveness of care, health plan information, and more. That very data collected is helping to analyze the performance and healthcare plans across the country.
Reports such as these can spur changes that benefit patients, healthcare providers, and healthcare insurance providers. That can have a massive and positive effect on the sector as a whole.
Big data in healthcare is only just scratching the surface
Perhaps the most exciting thing about big data in healthcare is the fact people are just now scratching the surface of what’s possible. It’s hard to imagine just how far big data can go and the many positive uses, but as technology continues to advance and new trends emerge, expect healthcare to embrace it even more.
Story by Carol Trehearn