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While the coronavirus pandemic has left the world bleeding, it has also highlighted weaknesses in the global healthcare systems that were hidden before. It is evident from the response to the pandemic that there was no plan in place on how to treat an unknown infectious disease like Covid_19. Despite the challenges that the world is facing, there is hope in big data and big data analytics. Big data has changed how data management and analysis is carried out in healthcare. Healthcare data analytics is capable of reducing the costs of treatment and can also help in the prediction of epidemics’ outbreak, prevent diseases, and enhance the quality of life.

Just like businesses, healthcare facilities collect massive amounts of data from patients during their hospital visits. As such, health professionals are looking for ways in which data collected can be analyzed and used to make informed decisions about specific aspects. According to the International Data Corporation report, big data is expected to grow faster in healthcare compared to other industries such as manufacturing, media, and financial services. The report estimates that healthcare data will experience a compound annual growth of 36% by 2025.

Here are some ways in that big data will make a difference in hospitals.

  1. Healthcare tracking

Along with the internet of things, big data and analytics are changing how hospitals and healthcare providers can track different user statistics and vitals. Apart from using data from wearables, that can detect the vitals of the patients, such as sleep patterns, heart rate, and exercise, there are new applications that monitor and collect data on blood pressure, glucose, and pulse, among others. The collection of such data will allow hospitals to keep people out of wards as they can manage their ailments by checking their vitals remotely.

  1. Reduce the cost of healthcare

Big data has come just at the right time when the cost of healthcare appears to be out of reach of many people. It is promising to save costs for hospitals and patients who fund most of these operations. With predictive analytics, hospitals can predict admission rates and help staff in ward allocation. This reduces the cost of investment incurred by healthcare facilities and enables maximum utilization of the investment. With wearables and health trackers, patients will be saved from unnecessary hospital visits, and admissions, since doctors can easily track their progress from their homes and data collected, can be used to make decisions and prescriptions.

  1. Preventing human errors

It is in records that medical professionals often prescribe the wrong medication to patients by mistake. These errors have, in some instances, led to deaths that would have been prevented if there were proper data. These errors can be reduced or prevented by big data, that can be leveraged in the analysis of patient data and prescription of medication. Big data can be used to corroborate and flag a specific medication that has adverse side effects or flag prescription mistake and save a life.

  1. Assisting in high-risk patients

Digitization of hospital records creates comprehensive data that can be accessed to understand the patterns of a particular group of patients. These patterns can help in the identification of patients that visit a hospital repeatedly and understand their health issues. This will help doctors identify methods of helping such patients accurately and gain insight for corrective measures, that will reduce their regular visits.

Big data offers obvious advantages to global healthcare. Although many hospitals have not fully capitalized on the advantages brought about by this technology, the truth is that using it will increase efficiency in the provision of healthcare services.

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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for Big Data & Analytics Tech Brief

Website: scottkoegler.me/

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