Data is everywhere, and the healthcare industry is no exception. With millions moving in and out of the regular hospital or clinic on a round-the-clock basis, it’s not hard to see vast amounts of data gradually increase, so much so that information is simply left dormant, with healthcare providers unaware of what can be done. However in this day and age, such massive quantities of data can be a treasure trove of insight, particularly when it comes to cost savings, proactive care and disease prevention. This is where big data comes in, and in its raw form, it may not be much use. But plug in a competent business intelligence solution, and you’ve got a mill that processes data based on custom queries you may have, as well as report on patterns that may be detected across large amounts of data.
Before healthcare providers and consumers alike turn to big data for improved standards in overall medicine, it is important to understand the magnitude of impact that data in general can have, across any frontier. For one, while errors are inevitable across any field of expertise, the slightest error can prove to be deadly in the healthcare sector. With millions being befallen to such mishaps, it is imperative to prevent errors, before entire diseases are prevented. On the other hand, patients have long since been wary of healthcare providers, owing to an array of reasons – with corruption, lack of privacy and consistent medical errors being some out of many. Leaving everything to human hands in a traditional setting can present a higher likelihood of such predicaments to occur, and quite frequently too.
The implementation of big-data powered platforms for concise data interpretation and analytics can empower healthcare facilities to not just be more efficient and error-free, but also provide the leverage that many healthcare professionals need to focus on tasks of a more strategic and analytical nature. As numerous competent healthcare professionals are bogged down in the process of conducting menial administrative tasks, big data can alleviate the need to do any of that, by providing automation and predictive insights at the tap or click of a button.
The versatility of big data is such that it can be integrated with most current technologies – from AI to blockchain. Depending on the concerns at hand, everything from lack of transparency to slow treatment can be effectively remedied with the right tools. While healthcare providers stand the chance to improve their services and possibly contribute to R&D, patients are now able to gain more clarity on their issues, as well as receive treatment that’s quick, affordable and hassle-free. This is why tech agencies across the globe have been receiving much demand for building digital platforms that can churn big data repositories from the healthcare industry as per proprietary requirements; for example, software development in Sri Lanka is a market sector that has long since been outsourcing software-related services to international clientele, and any resources pertaining to big data in healthcare is also no exception.
If you work in healthcare or own a similar establishment, you stand to benefit from the data that has been collected within your organisation. Here are some of those advantages, and what you can possibly do in order to implement a platform that is powered by big data for improved service and patient care.
Data that has been collected in large amounts over a prolonged period of time can simply be referred to as big data. In other words, this is data that has simply been recorded and stored. Since it is in its raw form, it presents the potential to reveal useful insights by using the right tools and asking the right questions. Due to its vast nature, big data provides the capacity to obtain a bird’s eye view of any issue that may be plaguing your organisation, since it consists of data across a multitude of categories and sub categories.
In the context of healthcare, data, and big data at large, can be obtained via the following means:
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list. With so many avenues that lead the average person into any sector that falls under the healthcare umbrella, data entry points are as common as they are obscure. However, consolidating and churning all this data is no simple feat. But with the right strategy and guidelines, being able to make sense of the same is a one-time investment for the most part, and one that will keep delivering on its promise in the long run.
Many people use the terms big data and business intelligence interchangeably, when both terms consist of one major difference – while the former is simply data in its raw form, the latter is a system that processes raw data with relevant queries, to determine insights and patterns. So it is important to keep in mind that big data alone won’t be beneficial to your business in any way – the integration of the right tools (such as a business intelligence solution) will be necessary to run all that data through and help make sense of it.
The fact that big data analytics can provide insights on currently trending patterns and behaviours is pretty much a given. However, what it can also do is offer insights into future trends and patterns, so healthcare providers can take action well ahead in advance. The same also applies to patients, since many can be informed prior about necessary health check ups and other follow ups, so that any ailments can be detected and cured before they get too severe or even terminal.
Again, this is made possible through the right business intelligence solution; with the right queries, healthcare providers now have a clarified perspective on what the future may hold, so that precautionary action can be taken. Predictive analytics of this nature can also lead to other positive initiatives – with cost savings being one of them. Once patterns are revealed in advance, healthcare providers can now do the needful to create solutions that are effective and affordable to patients at the same time. The beauty of business intelligence solutions nowadays is that any leading platform can be integrated with an existing system, thanks to the cloud. On top of that, SaaS solutions are easy to also implement, while being extremely affordable by having a minimal subscription price. Cloud computing in general has given enterprise software the leverage to be scalable as needed, and modern-day business intelligence solutions are also no exception, as a result.
This just goes to show that utilizing big data that exists within your healthcare establishment is easier than expected; after the right strategy and software vendor is sought, implementing, integrating and scaling the same is an ongoing process that requires minimal investments in the long run – while providing maximum analytical benefits.
The more accurate the source – the more accurate the research. When it comes to any form of research, this principle is the lynchpin, without a doubt. With big data analytics through business intelligence, ascertaining facts through concise evaluation of the numbers gathered via routine operations can determine the overall quality and research of R&D operations in the long run. Knowing what patterns exist based on current data sets, as well as what can potentially be foreseen (through predictive analytics, as elaborated in the previous point) can help researchers determine potential hazards as well as cures in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.
While insights through big data analytics can determine what is needed for better healthcare, it can also assist medical researchers in determining whether what they are developing is viable or vice versa, as the process is underway. In other words, patterns noticed through past statistics can alert researchers with more insights, as they are undergoing innovation for a new cure. Any anomalies can be detected, which can then be reported to show the same, in contrast to patterns observed before through past data sets.
The objective of big data analytics is to improve healthcare standards for the entity on the receiving end – the patient. While the above pointers (predictive analytics and improved R&D) eventually contribute to this very objective, there are a host of other ways that patients can receive faster and effective care in the short term. One such example is the usage of IoT devices, such as smart watches. Numerous smart watch brands have now joined hands with a variety of healthcare providers (including insurance companies) to offer better fitness and lifestyles for consumers/patients that is all based on engaging incentives. On top of that, data gathered from IoT devices such as smart watches, blood pressure monitors, glucose monitors etc. can be recorded and then used for analytics on a larger scale – while alerting doctors about their patients’ health conditions.
This way, more people can get treatment for ailments that can be curbed ahead of time, thereby helping to save on costly treatments that may otherwise be needed for more severe conditions, as well as significant amounts of physical and emotional energy. The elderly, children and chronically ill patients are at an added advantage when it comes to this, as these groups of people are at a higher risk of being affected by ailments than others.
Big data is something that is present in any organisation of any volume or industry, and the healthcare sector is no exception. Albeit being so ubiquitous, only few have implemented the right tools to make sense of all the data repositories that they own, and discover the trends, patterns and behaviours which can make all the difference between a good healthcare system and a great one. In fact, big data systems that help churn numbers for the healthcare industry are in so much demand, that custom solutions are constantly in the works at agencies that specialise in developing them. Business intelligence solutions are just the right software for processing big data, and while many use both terms interchangeably, there is a primary difference between the two. While big data is just data in its raw form, business intelligence is a platform or set of tools that utilise queries in order to process the raw data for greater insight.
A combination of big data and a competent business intelligence solution can make a world of difference for analysing what’s going on in your healthcare establishment, or in due course of your practice as a healthcare professional. Through predictive analytics, learning about potential ailments and hazards is useful so that relevant precautions and cures can be sought to safeguard patients. At the same time, processing big data accurately also eliminates the likelihood of human errors, thereby increasing the quality of service. It also gives healthcare professionals the autonomy to focus on tasks that are more strategic and/or analytical, since many administrative processes can be taken care of by insights revealed through big data. While predictive analytics can help foresee future trends and aid in the decision-making process, it can also aid in the R&D sector, especially when it comes to formulating medications and other technologies used to cure ailments. The real-time mapping of drugs under innovation can also assist researchers and scientists to continue their work based on objective feedback that has been derived from the numbers present in big data repositories.
Last but not the least, data gathered from medical devices such as scanning/monitoring equipment as well as IoT devices such as smart watches can enable better diagnosis of one’s lifestyle and fitness levels – so that relevant action can be sought well ahead in advance if required. As numerous healthcare and insurance providers team up with IoT brands, it’s clear to see just how big data can improve patients’ lives for the better.