HIT Think

Healthcare plays catch-up on adopting disruptive technologies

Big data has been making waves across the entire business sector and almost entirely transforming the way things operate. Construction and development, information security, retail, entertainment and e-commerce have all been changed irrevocably by big data, management and cloud computing technologies. However, healthcare has been slow to adopt these innovative solutions.

That's been changing slowly but surely during the last couple of years. Big data is definitely picking up speed in the medical field, and it's a maturation that’s happening as a result of today’s landscape.

Healthcare leaders and executives understand the need to make smarter, more informed decisions about the way they treat patients and customers. Big data and data management solutions will provide the necessary tools to make that happen and can also improve the efficiency, output and accuracy of nearly all medical operations.

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Here are some of the more prevalent data management trends hitting the industry this year.

Improving patient experience
Historical data and performance metrics are needed to improve upon and build more successful campaigns. The same is true when it comes to delivering top-notch experiences for patients and customers.

Healthcare can benefit from this immensely because of how disparate patient needs are. Not only is there an endless stream of treatments and solutions, but every person also needs a particular treatment applied differently. Consider medication; two people taking the same prescription will need varying doses, strength levels and even supplementary medications.

Big data and advanced analytics tools can be used to better understand patients and their needs. The information can help deliver more accurate, personalized treatments based on what’s happening in real time.

AI and data visualization
With massive streams of incoming data, tools will be needed to process, organize and extract valuable insights. There's no better solution than artificial intelligence and machine learning platforms, which can improve their efficiency over time as they handle more data sets.

AI is still relatively new across all industries, including the healthcare industry, but many players are starting to put it to use in a practical way. In the long term, AI will be able to assist clinicians and healthcare professionals with their work, suggesting potential diagnoses based on ingested information and proper treatments. Beyond medical applications, there are other areas where AI can vastly improve data management operations, as well.

Tasks such as information security, patient planning and scheduling, property management and even payroll can all be controlled by AI— taking a lot of the pressure off management and planning teams.

By 2022, over half of all major business systems will be driven by continuous intelligence, which uses real-time contextual data to improve decisions.

Precision medicine Is coming
Complex and rare diseases are difficult to identify and diagnose, and they are just as hard to treat. The matter becomes even more problematic when it involves inexperienced or relatively new physicians. They might not recognize signs of a rare disease because they’ve never encountered it before.

However, advanced data systems can be used to supplement the diagnoses of professionals. Ingested information can help point out potential problems with incredible accuracy, as well as treatment methods or testing options.

In this way, dealing with these ailments is becoming more data-centric than ever before. It involves information about the patients themselves, including pertinent health details, conditions, genetics and past concerns. Moreover, it enables better lateral handling.

When patients move from one doctor to another—or from facility to facility—not all personal information is transferred. By tapping into comprehensive data systems and tools, this information can stay with the patient indefinitely no matter where they are. Altogether, it offers the potential of a more precise, more successful level of treatment.

IoT and connected devices
The modern wearable, such as a smartwatch, offers a slimmed-down mobile experience but can also track a variety of personal stats. Most wearables include some kind of fitness and health tracking, offering a deeper look at a patient’s activity levels.

These same devices can be deployed all across the medical field to deliver targeted treatments and collect more detailed information. They will be held to a much higher standard than consumer-grade devices, however. Many will need to meet stringent ISO standards and follow regulatory guidelines. Even so, they’ll be remarkably helpful.

Consider a unique heart-rate monitor that remains with a patient even after they leave the hospital grounds. All the information it collects can be delivered in real time to a connected health professional. If and when they see something concerning, they can either call to check on the patient or have them come in for a scan. Better yet, the streams can be monitored by machine learning systems so healthcare professionals don’t have to watch every feed directly. The system provides alerts when something strange or questionable is detected.

The rise of telemedicine
Thanks to the Internet, wireless technologies and mobile devices, it’s now possible to administer treatments without meeting face-to-face with patients. This offers the potential for healthcare providers to find new ways to interact with their patients and customers.

Everything from mental health and therapy checkups to simple cold and flu appointments can be done remotely. Healthcare professionals can even issue prescriptions for certain ailments, enabling patients to stay home, which is incredibly beneficial if they’re sick.

What makes it all the more exciting, however, is the data aspect. Health information can be collected and utilized within the industry to provide better treatments, make more accurate diagnoses and even reach new markets or demographics.

It may not seem like it, but the resulting data and information from these technologies will prove instrumental to the future of the healthcare industry. It can be used to shape future events and decisions, provide better overall healthcare, discover new treatments and even improve the experiences of everyone involved—including patients and personnel alike.

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