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How Big Data is Changing Medicine

October 3, 2017 No Comments

Featured article by Calvin Paige, Independent Technology Author

Big data is starting to change our world in a number of exciting ways. In recent years, big data has been used for many different purposes, including to track the spread of infectious diseases and played a pivotal role in helping aid agencies to get ahead of an Ebola outbreak in Western Africa.

Big data is also changing the healthcare industry, allowing hospitals to devise better organizational structures and for pharmaceutical companies to build better profiles of health trends and predictive models that will help them identify new avenues of research. Below are some of the other ways that big data is rapidly changing the world of medicine.

Providing Optimal Healthcare

One of the primary goals of hospitals in developed nations has always been to deliver the most effective healthcare as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Big data is an important part of improving our healthcare systems to ensure they are fit for purpose within the demographics of developed cities today. Dramatic improvements in healthcare over the last several decades have led to a corresponding rise in life expectancy. With high life expectancies, there is now a much older population than there historically has been. Japan is an extreme example of this. For a number of reasons, Japanese life expectancy has been generally higher than in the West (this is thought to be because of differences in our diets). Japan is now home to the ‘oldest’ population in the world and it has had to rapidly adapt its approach to medicine in order to compensate. This is a model that many western nations are now looking towards.

Saving Hospitals Money

Like it or not, the healthcare industry in the United States is just that; an industry. In fact, the interlink between healthcare and business is now so tightly wound that there is now a Healthcare MBA (masters of business administration) that is designed to teach students how to manage a healthcare business. If you think this would be of interest to you, then look for an online MBA. Hospitals have to be able to continue to fund their existence, but the need for them to make money must be very carefully balanced with ensuring that they are always providing the best level of service that they can to their patients. Big data allows for much more in-depth analysis of a hospital’s finances and the performance of its employees.

Better Patient Monitoring

More sophisticated algorithms and large data sets mean that we can use big data to make very accurate predictions. For example, we can use data analytics to identify common patterns in patients’ symptoms before specific events, for example, a heart attack. By combining this technology with the latest advances in wearable technology, we can not only monitor patients but predict emergencies before they occur.

Big data is one of the most powerful tools currently available to the healthcare industry. It is revolutionizing the way that our society approaches statistics and has allowed us to make accurate models of disease and patient behavior.

 

DATA and ANALYTICS , HEALTH IT

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