Over the past few years, data has made a niche for itself in the healthcare sector. Owing to technical advancements today, it is much easier to collect, aggregate and analyze data collected from multiple sources and utilize it to improve healthcare for patients. Healthcare providers have seen the immense potential that big data has to not only improve patient engagement and healthcare delivery but also to facilitate research and drug discovery. They are trying to make data central to the entire healthcare ecosystem and today over 95% of global healthcare leaders believe that Health IT analytics has the power to give patient care a major overhaul.
Healthcare providers are using two types of data, namely, retrospective data, that collects event-based information, and real-time clinical data. However, despite its widespread use, there is still a lot that this sector needs to do to leverage the complete advantages of big data. Poor usage practices that have led to lost or stolen data have somewhat marred the reputation of data and made patients wary of sharing their personal information. If the issue of data security can be addressed then big data can help healthcare gain more opportunities to provide better treatments, at better costs by proving access to specific symptoms and elements of diseases that were previously not possible. Big data can also provide better patient insights to physicians and help them identify signs of impending bad health. This can aid preventive medication as the physicians can, with these insights, flag and treat a disease before it escalates.
Along with the promise of making patient care more efficient, adoption of Health IT analytics can also help hospitals improve profitability. Since data can paint a clear picture of performance, healthcare providers can easily identify and weed out practices and systems that are redundant or loss-making and to then implement systems that lead to better patient engagement and improved healthcare. Profitability then just is a consequence of smart big data use.
Originally appeared on LinkedIn.