The healthcare industry is growing at a faster pace than earlier and there is a synonymous increase in the demand for new & innovative medicines and patient care. In order to meet these rising demands, new technologies are being adopted in the industry such as artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and virtual healthcare and so on. One such technology is big data and analytics which is transforming the healthcare sector largely. According to Grand View Research, big data is anticipated to witness a notable rise in adoption across the healthcare sector from 2018 to 2025 recording a CAGR exceeding 15% by 2025. This double-digit growth is ascribed to the rising volumes of patient data and surge in demand for managing the same.
Big data has changed the way we analyze, leverage, and manage data in any industry. When applied to the healthcare sector, big data analytics has the potential to predict the outbreaks of epidemics, reduce treatment cost, and avoid preventable diseases by using specific health data of a particular individual or population. With the use of big data, healthcare professionals are capable of collecting a large amount of data and look for better strategies to use this information in order to cope up with the challenges of today’s treatment delivery methods.
With the advancements in technology, treatment models have changed and most of these changes are mainly driven by data. Healthcare data is produced in large volumes and is one of the most complex data. Many valuable insights are hidden in healthcare data that can directly impact and improve the quality of human life. Until recently, this sector lacked means of evaluating this data, however, big data analytics’ slow and steady progress in the sector has made healthcare analytics a distinct reality today.
Big data market can help in providing customized treatment to the patients. Furthermore, big data, along with IoT, can play a major role in the evolution of new-era healthcare practices with the increasing popularity of wearable diagnostics and remote consultation services. With big data, doctors are able to understand better about a patient, pick up warning signs of major illnesses, and thus treat the disease at an early stage, which becomes simpler and less expensive.
Key trends impacting big data analytics in healthcare sector?
- Predictive analytics in healthcare:
Predictive analytics is a major business intelligence trend being used nowadays in analyzing the various aspects associated with the lifestyle, genetic makeup, and social factors that can play a notable role in causing or preventing a disease in an individual. Predictive analytics helps doctors in making data-driven decisions in less time and improve patient’s treatment. It is also useful in case of patients suffering from multiple health conditions and having a complex medical history.
- Cost reduction:
Big data helps in reducing the risk of unnecessary labor cost. Various medical institutions, hospitals, and clinics face financial losses due to the ineffective management of finances. However, the use of predictive analytics can help in effective staff allocation as well as in the prediction of relevant patterns in admission rates. Thus, extra staff can be employed for when more number of patients are expected to visit, resulting in better care for the patients and reduced waiting time.
- Enhanced patient engagement:
Enhanced patient engagement can be achieved through big data and analytics. The rising interest of consumers in a variety of health tracking devices and wearable can positively impact the healthcare industry as well as potentially reduce the number of emergency cases as the patients are directly involved in monitoring their own health and can identify potential health risks lurking. Thus, the physicians’ job will be simplified with more number of patients understanding the importance of these devices.
- Enhanced security:
Personal data is extremely valuable, and the healthcare industry is more likely to experience data breaches as compared to other industries. Hence, several institutions have started making use of analytics to identify security threats and employ measures to effectively prevent cyber-attacks. Moreover, fewer frauds have been encountered since the adoption of big data and analytics as it helps in preventing frauds and streamlining processes such as insurance claim.
- Precision medicine:
In countries where the adoption of digital health records is rising, covering data pertaining to laboratory test results, medical history, demographics and so on, medical professionals are increasingly leveraging this data to provide personalized care to patients.
Healthcare sector also faces several challenges associated with policies and processes, data aggregation, and management. However, technological advancements are allowing the sector to cope up with these challenges. For instance, some cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services offer services in compliance with Protected Health Information (PHI) and HIPAA to meet the demand for data protection, authenticity, and access control.
Despite being slow when it came to the adoption of big data and analytics as compared to other industries, the healthcare sector is expected to benefit the most out of it over the forecast years. Big data is starting to transform the industry by helping it in improving operations, keeping better track of inventory, and making better-informed decisions by using data-driven findings to predict and solve the problem. Although this sector still has much to explore when it comes to big data and analytics, many organizations have taken their foot forward towards the adoption of analytics and have started using advanced technologies for the optimum management of clinics, hospitals, and other such institutions. Furthermore, various trends such as machine learning, wearable and IoT sensors, and precision medicine are destined to transform the healthcare sector and will be some of the key areas to watch out for over the next few years.
Author’s bio: Rucha Dhargave is a research analyst with more than 3 years of ICT industry experience with Grand View Research and holds a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering and a master’s degree in marketing management. She has authored numerous research studies including a host of topics under the ICT domain. Her key areas of research include big data, encryption software, and other ICT related topics. She has completed consulting assignments covering a wide range of products within the technology, semiconductor and electronics domain.