Big Data and the Future of Healthcare

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Big data and technology has helped numerous industries vastly improve and evolve in recent years. The health care industry has even incorporated the move toward big data into its model, allowing for patient histories, diagnosis charts, and important medical information to be available within mere seconds.

Not only will this exciting innovation help doctors better understand patients’ evidence-based medical histories and cut down on the nearly 40,000 deaths a year that stem from misdiagnoses, it’ll also help save the industry up to $450 billon, according to a recent report from consulting firm McKinsey & Co. This money-saving adaptation will help IT workers and medical professionals alike focus on innovation and improvement for the health care industry, which represents nearly 18% of the U.S.’s GDP.

Through this innovation, doctors, patients, and health insurance companies have a higher incentive for utilizing big data to compile, exchange, and discuss information. Not only will this help in treating a vast array of patients, but it’ll also help individuals discuss what medical treatments and insurance coverage patients need since relevant data will be in one easy-to-access place as opposed to dispersed in various hospital charts.

What Does This All Mean?

Doctors have a smorgasbord of responsibilities they must tackle every day, ranging from testing, performing check-ups, diagnosing patients, prescribing medicine, and understanding behavior modification. Without the relevant and appropriate information at their fingertips, doctors are limited in their ability to provide patients with the correct diagnoses. With the use of big data, doctors are able to organize patient information; integrate and balance consideration of patient symptoms, history, demeanor, and environmental factors; and lower their overall error rate. In fact, according to Fortune, medical assistants who use a diagnostic knowledge systems are 91% more accurate in their labs and exams.

In addition to helping patients and doctors, big data is also predicted to greatly assistant health insurance companies access the data and information they need to make decisions on what treatments, medications, and procedures they need and don’t need to cover. Through big data, health insurance companies are able to analyze data from clinical trials and information from public insurance policies to improve their overall policies and practices. Instead of gathering information from an array of sources – including patients, hospitals, laboratories, private offices, etc. – they’ll be able to access key information from one place. This will help improve coverage practices and also help insurance companies make more accurate, sound, and well-researched decisions.

Wondering how big data can help patients, hospitals, and insurance companies? Here are some points to consider:

  • Patients will have access to their complete medical history, which will in turn help them make the right decisions about the nutrition, exercise, and care they need in their treatments.
  • Caregivers will have access to timely, relevant medical histories, which will help them determine the appropriate treatments and medications for patients.
  • Insurance companies can work with patients, doctors, health care organizations, and insurance professionals to improve the value, quality, and services of health insurance coverage.

These are just some of the many ways big data is changing the face of health care in this country. In the years to come not only will patients, hospitals, and insurance companies benefit from this vast innovation, but the health care field will greatly improve.

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