Healthcare advances big data is driving

Adam Lonergan

With cloud technology providing the perfect platform for the processing, transformation and storage of big data, there have been many predictions on how it will change the face of the healthcare industry forever.

The advances and attitude shifts that have taken place in the last 3-5 years alone (partly driven by COVID) have carved a path for some of the most exciting developments in the healthcare industry to date.

Healthcare advances are being driven by technology and enabled by big data.

Every day 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created, and with IoT adoption growing at a steady rate, this number will look a lot higher in the very near future. Many organisations predict that tech in healthcare will skyrocket, but so far adoption on a widespread scale has been relatively slow.

Change is coming, though, and we can expect big things when the world of healthcare and data collide. 

Let’s take a look at some of the innovative ways that tech is set to drive healthcare into the future. 

Realtime data will help improve care 

Manual monitoring of patients is often a necessity, but in some cases, it’s not always required. With many institutions lacking the technology to automate this process in any way, hours are spent each day wasted on collating information that could be collected digitally. 

Once systems with these capabilities are more widely adopted, doctors and nurses will have time freed up to focus on actively looking after patients, while all vital stats are delivered to them without in-person interference. Likewise, any anomalies or causes of concern will be raised earlier than perhaps manual intervention would have done. 

Systems can also be put in place to monitor resource allocation and task management. While some big hospitals and medical facilities already have the technology in place to ensure there is sufficient staff cover, medical supplies stocked and maintenance taking place, trends in this data often aren’t being analysed to make improvements.

This is partly due to the lack of technology being in place and there not being skilled individuals in place to manage the data analysis.

Internet of Things everywhere

Once IoT becomes commonplace across hospital assets, patients and spaces, smart hospitals will emerge providing a more complete and personalised experience for patients, while providing healthcare professionals with more relevant real time data than ever before.

Systems that can manage patient data more effectively will also help to reduce the amount of work duplication, unnecessary patient outreach and paperwork. This will reduce the workload and burden on individuals responsible for various parts of patient care and administration. 

Customer experience is redefining patient expectations

Visibility is a big feature of the consumer world. From knowing when an order has been shipped, to receiving update emails prior to attending a concert. And while consumers often choose speed alongside their visibility, service and experience also plays a huge role.

This visibility and experience is yet to extend to healthcare systems across the world, but big data could help to change that.

If inefficiencies or mistakes could be identified early on, it could prevent issues and reduce lengthy waiting times. 

Data can also help to personalise the patient experience in small yet significant ways, such as if a patient is a regular admission, their food preferences could be remembered, or the room temperature could be adapted to help with their specific condition. 

Examples of big data, brands and healthcare colliding

Here are just 4 ideas we’re excited to see happening right now…

  • Alphabet’s drone company ‘Wing’ worked with Walgreens in the U.S. to provide delivery of medication to individuals at their home address. 
  • Microsoft’s Azure Health Data Services are working with an analytics software company called SAS to make healthcare analytics more accessible to healthcare providers and professionals 
  • Health tech company ShareSafe has partnered with Samsung to integrate mobile technology with the brand’s Smart TV screens. This means EHRs and other content will be able to display easily. 
  • Apple has said it’s working on a medicine management tool. It’s said to have a scanning feature for medicine bottles and will check if it’s been taken correctly, as well as reminding individuals of their medicine-taking schedule.

What’s next for tech in healthcare? 

What we’ve discussed is just scratching the surface of how big data and tech can transform hospital stays, let alone medicine and healthcare across the board. The outlook is promising, but advancement requires investment – both financially and time-wise – and we’ll need to see global attitudes shift much further in order to embrace big data in this way.

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