What Would Healthcare Look Like Without Big Data?

It is no secret that every business and industry, especially healthcare, is doing all they can to cut costs and still offer the best product or service. To achieve this benchmark is much easier said than done. In fact, some owners and managers don’t know what needs to be changed or where improvements can be made to facilitate this goal. However, a key instrument has made a resounding entrance to produce fact-based representation and point out the lack-luster areas that need real change. This instrument is known as big data, and healthcare system administrator have taken notice.

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/StuartMiles

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/StuartMiles

Many people of great importance throw around this buzzword, yet may not fully understand the fundamentals of big data. One of the most down-to-earth definitions of big data is: “…voluminous amount of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data that has the potential to be mined for information.” Specifically, voluminous is classified in petabytes and exabytes. That much data generation is found in industries like financial firms, social media giants, retail organizations, telecommunication services and medical providers.

Many of the strongest run businesses within the named industries rely heavily on big data to run their day to day actions and to be more profitable over competitors, especially those that do not employ big data tools. The healthcare industry is in a very different predicament because many of their directives to cut spending and improve overall care are mandated to them. Thus, the necessity to implement any system of rules to realize the established regulations is essential, and big data performs this dutifully.

At some point or another, all of us will be a patient. Most of us seek out a local physician to conduct wellness checkups, and to help with any ailments that afflict us. Some of us end up in the hospital or emergency room due to quick onset symptoms, accidents or prolonged discomfort. Every bit of information that is captured while in any medical setting is stored. This information may be as simple as our name, date of birth, height and weight, but there is so much more that is obtained like blood pressure, current prescriptions, allergies, family history, prior surgeries, along with any notes and further treatment, follow-ups or referrals. Basically, we are walking data generators.

By no means are healthcare professionals treating us as data points on a chart or information packages. Yet, it is through all input that we have received better and more precise care. Image conducting a survey and the more people you are able to petition the more accurate your findings will be. This is no different, excepted in scale to a simple survey. Healthcare experts work toward treating each patient as an individual with particular needs, with the end goal of positive outcomes. Each visit with each patient in every situation, whether routine or absolutely unique, holds the potential of helping someone else. That someone else becomes each of us now.

image courtesy of freedititalphotos.net/Baitong333

image courtesy of freedititalphotos.net/Baitong333

All the big data collected isn’t purely for the benefit of treating patients effectively and efficiently, but also works towards financial benefits for the organization, which trickles down to patient costs. When a system runs more finely-tuned, with less waste, a reduction in errors, and prevention in fraudulent circumstances. This allows for a greater focus on the part of the professional to his or her specialty and less on outside preoccupations.

Healthcare relies on the information that big data supplies to treat each patient, to run a business, to find inefficiencies, to prevent negative results at any level or department, and to plan for the future. That is a lot to glean and benefit from when entrusting all your information to a developing and growing strategy. However, without this program, the accuracy of care, the potential to remove impracticalities and to better an industry has been completely removed, and healthcare professionals are left to their own devices. Not a comforting thought or a way to pave a path to the future.