HomeBusinessBig DataHow Big Data Helps Healthcare Professionals Stay Ahead of Trends, Treatments, and...

How Big Data Helps Healthcare Professionals Stay Ahead of Trends, Treatments, and Regulations

The idea of a paper chart that follows a patient around to visits to medical offices is a thing of the past. Modern healthcare settings are increasingly relying on sophisticated databases and real-time stream processing to provide the best care and help patients make the best decisions. You could say that no industry has as much to gain from big data as the healthcare industry. One thing that may not surprise you is that a lack of available data is frequently cited as one of the biggest challenges that medical researchers and physicians face when attempting to make advances with specific diseases and illnesses. This means that data can potentially save lives. Yet, we must adhere to data privacy regulations.

Big data in healthcare can also work on a much more local level that is personal to the patients that healthcare providers aim to serve. It can be difficult for medical professionals to keep track of changing regulations for healthcare and medical insurance, policy change effects and more without accurate, up-to-date data. The bottom line is that medical settings need to adopt patient-focused approaches that foster both health and compliance. Hospitals, medical offices, research clinics, and government agencies tasked with improving public health are increasingly using big data as a prescription for cutting through the roadblocks that stand between patients and high-quality care.

What Big Data offers to the healthcare industry

The exciting thing about big data is that it can improve nearly every aspect of the healthcare industry. This means that the same technology that can help hospitals and government agencies track outbreaks can also be used to help a woman in the Midwest decide which routine prescription will work best based on her lifestyle and previous reactions to medications with her doctor’s recommendation. The big advantage of big data stream processing in healthcare is that it makes information collected is usable in real time. There is no need to wait for reports when information is processed, analyzed and made available from the second it becomes part of a system. This has huge implications for helping medical professionals track the progressions of outbreaks as patients from across the country enter hospitals and clinics. It can also be useful in tracking long-term trends in diseases and patient treatments.

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Professionals in the field of mental health are even using smartphone apps to track patient behaviors to identify red flags for deterioration. The beauty of this is that data has the ability to articulate to a medical professional what a patient may not be able to use words. Of course, data analytics also works on a more simplistic level. A carefully curated patient chart that has been built using big data can give a medical professional instant access to an accurate view of a patient’s medical history. This can help medical professionals to offer the best treatments and share with other providers as needed for advancing patient health efforts.

Bringing data to local healthcare settings

Those in the healthcare field who want to take advantage of the benefits of big data don’t have to possess the budget or resources of the Centers for Disease Control or be part of a research hospital that’s affiliated with a large university. Big data processing platforms that ingest and repackage information in real time can be used by local hospitals, clinics, and medical offices. Such a platform can create a streamlined process for ensuring that accurate information is pulled up on the screen every time a patient visits an office. In addition, billing and internal financial information can be stored and accessed easily. Even patterns in patient visits and wait times can be analyzed to improve services. The overall benefit is that doctors and clinic managers can improve the experiences of patients and make better operational decisions.

Photo credit: Phalinn Ooi / NEC
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Jenna Brown
Jenna is a freelance blogger who is mainly focused on business innovation and breaking stories in business. Jenna has been blogging since college where she studied marketing and has merged her love of keying stories into copywriting work as well as plenty of reading and writing for fun! Find and follow on her new Twitter here!