According to Deloitte.com, “Global health care expenditures are expected to continue to rise as spending is projected to increase at an annual rate of 5.4 percent between 2017-2022, from USD $7.724 trillion to USD $10.059 trillion.” The growth of the healthcare industry will be driven by a myriad of factors - personalize medicine, next-generation technologies, revamped payment models and non-traditional competitors. Also, the future of the healthcare industry will be shaped by both existing and emerging technological trends.
The trends in healthcare technology keep changing from time to time. But many analysts believe that big data will remain one of the most significant healthcare IT trends. Many healthcare practitioners and providers these days treat the most frequent health problems and predict potential health problems of patients by analyzing large volumes of real-time data collected from various sources. Likewise, many clinics and hospitals are using custom big data solutions to improve healthcare service delivery and generate more revenue.
1. Potential Health Issues Detection
The smart machine-to-machine (M2M) communication facilitated by the Internet of Things (IoT) enables healthcare practitioners and providers to track real-time health information, statistics, and vitals. The patients can further use a wearable device to collect important information like heart rate, exercise and sleep. The practitioners can further use specialized devices to monitor pulse rate, blood pressure, and glucose levels of patients remotely and consistently. The real-time health data access help hospitals to detect potential problems and provide relevant healthcare to patients at the right time.
2. Medical Treatment Personalization
Many doctors and physicians these days leverage big data to manage patients’ health effectively through personalized or precision medicine. The new age medical model requires practitioners to divide patients into different groups and customize healthcare based on the unique genetic and molecular profile of each patient. The doctors personalize medicine and medical treatment based on a variety of patient data – genetic blueprint, lifestyle and living environment. The big data solutions help practitioners to personalize medicine based on real-time information collected from varied sources.
3. Clinical Trials and Studies
In addition to helping doctors to personalize medical treatment, big data also facilitate and accelerate many clinical trials and studies. Many healthcare companies use big data solutions to prevent the spread of epidemics and implement disaster relief plans. Many researchers and clinicians used big data solutions to predict the spread of the Ebola virus based on patients’ mobile phone location data. The information helps clinicians to restrict movement and set up treatment centers based on real-time data.
4. Hospital and Health Record Digitization
The healthcare service providers these days digitize hospital records and generate electronic health record (EHR) to leverage big data. The digitization helps doctors to compare health data of various patients and detect the patterns. The doctors can further identify patients with chronic issues or who visit the clinic frequently. They can further leverage the patterns to identify chronic issues, provide on-time care, and reduce clinic visits. The doctors can even use real-time data to customize medical treatment based on the appropriate corrective measures.
5. Remote Healthcare Delivery
The emerging digital technologies help hospitals to automate a variety of tasks. The big data solutions further help doctors to monitor patients and customize medical treatment efficiently. Many hospitals these days leverage big data to reduce the number of clinic visits and facilitate remote healthcare delivery. Hence, big data enable patients living in rural areas to access relevant treatment and care from highly qualified doctors.
6. Increasing Patient Engagement
As mentioned earlier, big data helps medical practitioners and providers to track patient health and personalize medical treatment. Many hospitals also leverage big data to help patients avoid emergency care. The real-time data collected from various sources even help doctors and physicians to encourage consumers to use wearable devices and health tracking devices on a regular basis. With more and more consumers using these health tracking devices, the number of emergency cases will decline gradually.
7. Reducing Healthcare Cost
In addition to improving healthcare service delivery, big data also help hospitals to curtail initial investment and operational expenses. The big data solution enables clinics and hospitals to predict admission rate in advance using predictive analysis techniques. Hence, it becomes easier for hospitals to save money by planning staff deployment and resource allocation. The hospitals can further enhance staff and bed availability by making patients visit the clinic less frequently and reducing wait time for patients.
Overall, big data is currently one of the hottest trends in healthcare technology. No healthcare service provider can remain relevant and generate revenue in the long run without leveraging a large amount of real-time data. The hospitals and clinics will need to custom big data solutions to accelerate healthcare service delivery by storing, accessing, sharing, and analyzing large datasets efficiently.