Big data and data analytics have become widely popular across nearly every industry. The information companies and organizations can gather from user data allow them to make improvements to how they operate and the services they provide to benefit their customers.
But the healthcare industry in particular is seeing significant improvements from the big data that could change the future of healthcare and the care patients receive. Essentially, the more data healthcare apps obtain, the more healthcare providers can use that information to provide high-value-based care that is specifically tailored to meet the patient’s individual needs.
This article will take a closer look at how big data is changing the healthcare industry and how it is specifically being used in various healthcare apps to improve patient outcomes.
What is Healthcare Big Data, and How Is it Improving the Industry?
In general, big data is the process of gathering and analyzing large quantities of data to reveal things like consumer behaviors, patterns, trends, or how a certain product or service is performing and where improvements are needed. When talking about big data and healthcare, however, we are specifically referring to the collection and analysis of data concerning patient health or other medical information.
This can be done by using smart devices, systems, or applications that gather data, such as electronic health records, medical devices, smartphone apps, healthcare wearables, and more. What makes big data different from other kinds of digital information is that it uses advanced computing technology and even machine learning systems to collect and analyze data at an extraordinarily high volume and moves that data across the vast digital healthcare universe at high velocity.
In other words, big data gathers, processes, and shares data on a much larger scale and much faster than traditional methods of sharing digital information.
So, what does this mean for the healthcare industry and patient care?
Being able to process and share such large amounts of data will transform the healthcare industry because it can provide higher-level outcomes, specifically patient outcomes and value-based care. Overall, big data in healthcare can improve:
- Diagnostics by helping doctors more easily identify causes of illness
- Preventative medicine by using predictive analytics to study genetics and lifestyle to prevent disease
- Precision medicine by using patient data to provide hyper-personalized care
- Medical research to help discover new treatments, medicines, and cures
- Medication events by using data to identify medication errors or spot potential adverse reactions
- Healthcare costs by improving patient outcomes, which reduces the need for healthcare services over time
- Public health by identifying disease trends and outbreaks much faster and strategies for how to handle them
Applications of Big Data in Healthcare Apps and How it’s Making a Difference
As a whole, digital healthcare apps, devices, and systems are helping healthcare professionals and facilities work smarter and more efficiently, which empowers patients by providing them with easier access to higher levels of value-based care. The more data that is collected, the more information doctors and other clinicians have to work with to fine-tune their services and the care they provide.
Think of patient care as a strategy and big data as the plan for that strategy. The more planning you do, the better your strategy and the outcomes will be. So, the more data healthcare providers process and analyze, the more information they will have that can support better health outcomes using a strategic plan.
Below are some of the applications of big data in healthcare apps and devices that are being used to advance the healthcare industry and patient outcomes today:
Birth Control Apps
Birth control apps, like Natural Cycles, use a smart algorithm to monitor patient data to provide more accurate fertility awareness. By analyzing data such as the user’s basal body temperature, the app can determine more precisely when the user is fertile and when it’s safe to have sex without protection. This helps patients achieve better family planning without the need for contraceptives or other birth control methods.
COVID Exposure Apps
Symptom-checker apps, such as the one that was developed for the COVID-19 pandemic, can make a huge difference in how governments and clinicians handle large-scale outbreaks. Being able to collect such significant amounts of data, such as what symptoms were occurring, who was experiencing what symptoms, and where the outbreaks were happening, allowed for more rapid deployment of services to help.
It also enabled doctors to better understand how the disease was behaving so they could provide better treatment. And now, this technology can be used to help handle and treat potential future outbreaks.
Wearable technology is one of the latest trends in the healthcare industry. These electronic devices are equipped with embedded smart sensors that enable them to collect data on the user, such as heart rate and other vitals. That data is then sent to their doctor for analysis, which allows them to monitor the patient remotely and adjust their care and treatments as needed.
Crowdsourcing apps are even using big data to improve the health and well-being of certain vulnerable groups. SeeLight, for example, is a new app that was created to help the visually impaired. By crowdsourcing large amounts of data, the app can provide audible information to visually impaired users to help them better navigate urban roads and street crossings.
These are just some of the many applications of big data in healthcare today. There are numerous ways the healthcare industry is making use of data analytics to improve patient care and health outcomes. And as big data technology continues to advance, we are likely to drastic changes and improvements to the future of healthcare.