Big data and data analytics have transformed many industries and paved their way to market leadership. The healthcare industry is also realizing the value of leveraging data to produce better outcomes overall for healthcare providers and patients alike. In fact, now big data in the US healthcare industry has a growth rate of 20.69 per cent for 2015-2022, with a valuation of $17,278.13 million, according to market research reports.

Why use Big Data now

Ageing populations, rising healthcare costs and rise in chronic illnesses has pushed the US healthcare system to explore ways it can optimize its resources and still deliver the best results over time. As healthcare providers receive massive amounts of data with each patient, doctors are likely to male health decisions based on clinical, research and patient-provided data which shows success rates, rather than personal opinion.

Healthcare providers are also valued based on patient outcomes, so it provides them with an incentive to gather data and use analytics and share the relevant data with other providers with patient permission which will improve patient health and reduce costs for insurance companies. As the data gathering and management need increase, there are several business intelligence tools and platforms that have been successfully introduced and have demonstrated their value over time.

Big Data applications in the Healthcare industry

Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

This is the most commonly used application of Big Data in the healthcare industry. Healthcare providers have the patient’s digital record of medical history, past illnesses, test results and so on. Doctors also use these to record medical advice for the patients, prescriptions etc. These can be used to issue reminders when a patient needs to schedule a lab test or track progress and prescriptions. These records can be shared with patient permission, among other healthcare providers to provide better service to the patient. Within the US, close to 94 per cent of hospitals have successfully adopted EHRs so far and Europe is expected to follow, with a centralized health record system in 2020.

Expanding diagnostic service of healthcare wearables

More people are using health trackers to keep fit. But these can also be used to more diagnostic advantage by healthcare providers. The data that is collected in the patient’s wearables can be streamed to healthcare providers who can be alerted if there’s any sudden concern – e.g. rise in heart rate, breathing patterns etc.

One significant example is the Apple Watch. It has apps to monitor the wearer’s heart rate and manage health charts over time, which can alert the wearer to seek medical attention and provide medical experts with more details in case of any health emergencies. Through the Apple Heart Study in 2019, Stanford researchers reported that the Apple Watch can successfully identify heart rhythm irregularities which can help detect atrial fibrillation.

Reducing prescription errors

According to the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation, prescription errors lead to almost 7000 lives lost per year and cost $21 billion. Leading prescription service companies are leveraging Big Data to make more informed decisions. They analyze data on patient behaviour to identify if the patient is at high risk for harming side effects or becoming dependent on prescriptions. Armed with this foreknowledge, doctors will be able to prescribe alternatives followed with extra monitoring that will lead to better health results. Additionally, the data can indicate the development of chronic illness that may not have been diagnosed yet.

Monitoring health risk

Big Data can provide insights into patient groups that are at higher risk for illness which will enable healthcare providers to prescribe a more proactive approach to illness prevention. Big data can also be used to identify treatment protocols that are either ineffective or costly when compared to outcomes which will alert doctors to prescribe alternative treatments that can be more effective.

The healthcare industry is being revolutionized with the use of Big Data. The focus is on improving patient outcomes, reigning in the ballooning cost of healthcare and reducing the possibilities of error in prescriptions and treatment to provide better results.

Healthcare organizations are tapping into the multitude of platforms and tools that will help them leverage Big Data. At Tricon Infotech, we have developed definitive expertise in creating tech solutions that can be customized towards the healthcare domains in the United States. These range from cloud services, to EHR, mobile apps, learning platforms, products and services in supply chain management, DevOps, SAP and ERP. Connect with us to learn how we can help your organization meet its business goals