Big Data in Healthcare: Changes and ChallengesOver the next several years, Big Data is estimated to increase faster in healthcare than in other sectors, such as manufacturing, financial services or media. The Healthcare sector’s need to manage patient care and innovate medicines simultaneously pushes for newer technologies to be adopted in the industry. According to an International Data Corporation (IDC) report, this puts healthcare organizations in a challenging position to manage exceptionally large data assets.

It is projected that healthcare data will experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36% through 2025.

Big Data will strengthen the ability of the healthcare industry to foresee epidemics, remedy diseases, enhance the quality of life, improve preventable care, initiate earlier preventive care, and observe warning signs earlier on. And that list only scratches the surface.

Below are five key areas that are making a big impact by Big Data, including projected changes in delivering care and potential challenges along the way.

  1. Tracking Health

Analytics, Big Data, and the Internet of Things (IoT) is shaking up the way we can follow a variety of patient statistics and their vitals. Besides wearables that detect a person’s sleep, heart rate, physical activity, steps walked, etc. there are innovative medical devices that can monitor their blood pressure, pulse, and glucose numbers. Healthcare organizations can prevent people from coming to the hospital by monitoring sensors and gathering data collection to help recognize potential health troubles and offer care prior to the situation turning grim.

  1. Reducing Cost

There are a number of ways that Big Data will help drive costs down for healthcare providers. For example, hospitals may have over or under booked staff. Predictive analytics can remedy this issue by accurately anticipating admission rates and help with staff allotment; this will ultimately lower the investment by hospitals.

The insurance industry can also reduce spending by endorsing the use of wearables and trackers, to decrease the likelihood of patients being admitted to the hospital. This backing could also lower patient wait times since as the hospital will have appropriate staff and beds accessible via data analysis. Additionally, predictive analytics will support cutting costs by lowering or eliminating hospital readmissions.

Society of Actuaries released a report that states 47% of healthcare organizations are already using predictive analytics. It is also noted that over 57% of healthcare sectors believe that predictive analytics will save organizations 25% or more in annual costs over the next five years.

However, IDC found that more than 40% of healthcare organizations still struggle to hire employees with the necessary data skill sets. Nearly 60% of healthcare respondents said their organizations lack a blockchain strategy or have yet to implement any blockchain initiative.

  1. Supporting High-Risk Population

By having all hospital records in a digital format, that collective data can be used to decipher a pattern among patients. For example, it can distinguish the patients who are coming to the hospital frequently, and pinpoint their chronic problems. This knowledge will help provide patients with appropriate care, and offer insights to help reduce their repeat visits. It is an efficient way to keep tabs on high-risk patients and supply them customized care.

  1. Prohibit Human Mistakes

Providers are human, they make errors. Professionals have been known to prescribe the wrong medication or administer the wrong prescription by accident. These errors could be minimized with the use of Big Data by analyzing user data and their prescribed treatments. It can validate the data, point out mistakes, and ultimately improve outcomes. This information will empower physicians who are busy caring for multiple patients everyday.

  1. Progress in Healthcare

In addition to making a difference within healthcare, Big Data can also greatly benefit overall advancements within science and technology. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can search through large amounts of data within moments to discover solutions for a variety of illnesses. These advancements are underway and will only continue to expand as Big Data research is accumulated. Answers will be on the mark, and customized solutions will be available for unique issues. Big Data may not be entirely leveraged yet within the healthcare sector, due to restrictions of funds and bandwidth, but there is no doubt that the future will only bring increased implementation and adoption.

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