Big Data Applications For Patient Care and Safety

Big data allows for the collection of vast amounts of information, which organizations, companies, and agencies can then use to inform decisions, streamline operations, or make other necessary adjustments. In healthcare, big data can play a pivotal role in bringing about improvements in areas such as patient care and safety. Accessible and well-organized information can become a resource that can help healthcare administrators, decision-makers, and practitioners on a variety of fronts. 

This information can play a role in identifying practices that affect the treatment of specific diseases and conditions. A healthcare organization can use cloud-based systems to capture, organize, protect, and share data about different healthcare topics efficiently. In the cloud, everyone who needs access to data about patient treatments or safety concerns can get it quickly, using blockchain technology to ensure it is secured from unauthorized access or theft. 

The cloud can also store centralized medical records so that different practitioners can see each patient’s information and provide services and treatments based on this information. Different practitioners can update data in real-time, which can prove lifesaving in emergencies where every second counts. 

The combination of big data and cloud computing can also lead to healthcare innovations. For example, one idea is to move from per-service payments to payments based on the value of the service. In such cases, the provider would charge based on the outcome of the services they provided. This solution to healthcare costs would require data collection and cloud-based systems that would establish metrics and evaluate outcomes. 

This type of innovation would be possible with a cloud-based big data system that could collect and share information across an entire healthcare network. Because of these possibilities, more and more healthcare organizations are choosing to operate in the cloud and rely on big data and data analytics to provide solutions, secured by blockchain technologies for industry compliance and privacy protection. 

Evaluating Practitioner Performance

Big data can help collect information on practitioner performance. By looking at different wellness metrics, healthcare administrators can measure the value that a physician or other service provider adds to their organization. Such data can include complaints, assessments by senior practitioners, outcomes of treatments, patterns in the practitioner’s practices, and the use of resources. 

If you collect and analyze data within a cloud-based system, you can provide real-time analysis for physicians. This analysis can lead to immediate feedback, which healthcare operators can use to avoid mistakes, improve services immediately, and make diagnosis and treatment decisions based on this real-time data. 

Any data collected during physician-patient interactions can also be useful in investigating patient complaints. The healthcare organization, insurance company, or attorney could get information about the interaction, diagnosis, and treatment. 

Predicting Risk

Treatment of chronic diseases can be expensive for healthcare organizations. One potential solution to limit these expenditures is to predict the likelihood of someone getting a chronic illness. Big data offers a solution here. Healthcare providers can use metrics such as a patient’s medical history, demographic information, and other variables to assess risks. During each interaction with a healthcare provider, they can collect additional data. 

This practice can work for individual patients, but it can also work on the macro level. For example, a public healthcare agency can apply predictive analysis to medical data to define groups within the larger population who are at risk for specific diseases, chronic conditions, or traumatic injuries. 

For both individual patients and larger demographic groups, the goal of risk assessments is to address health problems before they become serious. If a provider can predict the development of chronic conditions in a patient, they can take early treatment steps and suggest changes that could protect the patient from developing severe diseases. 

For the entire population, public health officials could launch health education initiatives or change practices to address the needs of groups who are at risk for certain health issues.

Prevent Deadly Infections

Recent outbreaks of Ebola, SARS, and COVID-19 demonstrate that the healthcare industry and governments could leverage big data solutions to help map, isolate, and manage epidemics before they become uncontrollable. For example, during the Ebola outbreak of 2014 in West Africa, UNICEF used cloud-based data applications to manage its response to the deadly infection. 

UNICEF also used data from these technologies to develop educational resources, which helped educate people on the causes, symptoms, and spread of Ebola, as well as safety measures to take. A cloud-based computing system is vital for this type of data-sharing innovation because it can collect data from a variety of sources and offer remote access to a centralized data bank that gets updated in real-time. 

Data-based disease tracking and information could also aid healthcare education. For example, healthcare organizations could use data to update the public about the spread of a virus or infection to new locations, or provide data-based advice about how to protect yourself from contracting the disease. 

Reducing Patient Costs

A few key steps to reducing patient costs include streamlining treatment, making valid diagnosis, and using available data to make informed decisions. Big data and cloud systems can help reduce costs and increase efficiency by facilitating the collection of and access to the necessary healthcare data and analytic tools necessary to help achieve these positive outcomes. 

Patients could further reduce their healthcare costs by changing their diet, exercising, and taking other personal care steps, which can also reduce the risk of specific chronic conditions. If they share this data with a healthcare provider, a physician can prescribe participation in health counseling, nutrition plans, or other programs that are potentially less expensive for the patient than treating a chronic condition with medicine and invasive procedures. 

The ability to collect data from different sources is one of the main reasons why more and more organizations in the healthcare industry are choosing to migrate their databases and operating systems to the cloud

Enhancing Patient Health Literacy

Health education is a growing area of focus, and providers can empower people to become involved in their own healthcare efforts. In keeping with the epidemic example mentioned before, officials can share prevention information with the public, and physicians can share information with individual patients so that they have insights into their own health situation. 

Big data can also play a role in healthcare literacy through wearable technology. Health tracking devices can help doctors collect data about metrics such as blood pressure, heart rate, or blood sugar. Some devices can also detect issues with the heart, lungs, or other vital organs and alert the wearer about a potential health emergency. Information sharing and wearable technology can create a more-transparent dynamic and allow the patient to be more involved in their healthcare.