Have you ever considered the reams of data and paperwork involved when storing information within the healthcare industry? From patient records, information on medication and hospital treatments, medication costs and procedures, compiling all this data can be incredibly complex. But could something like Big Data help to gather this information more effectively, whilst also gaining smarter insights?

In this post, we’ll take a look at what Big Data is and its potential to benefit how the healthcare industry operates.

What is Big Data?

If you’re new to Big Data, the simplest way to explain it is as an extremely large data set that is carefully analysed to reveal patterns, trends and associations in human behaviour and interactions.

Collecting Big Data involves following the four Vs – volume, variety, velocity and veracity. That means collecting as much data as possible from multiple sources with both speed and accuracy. However, collecting the information is an ongoing process and there must be a steady flow of relevant data in a number of formats, like texts, numbers, audio, video, allowing people to make informed decisions (usually in a business setting).

Could the Healthcare Industry Benefit from Big Data?

We’ve seen discussions on the subject of AI and The Internet of Things (IoT) already and how they’re likely to shape the future of the industry. Procedures could shift from human to robotic processes and the way that patients in hospitals are monitored and analysed could be completely transformed. Could Big Data potentially have the same impact on the healthcare industry?

In theory, the aim of utilising Big Data in the healthcare industry would be to:

  • Improve the patient experience, including the quality of their care
  • Improve the overall health of the population
  • Reduce the cost of healthcare per-capita

By analysing the large data set provided by healthcare providers around the world, patterns and treatments could be identified, resulting in an improvement in the quality and cost of patient care.

Considerations That Must be Made

There are, of course, difficulties with storing so much data at one time, especially as it is constantly updated and added to. Gathering relevant data can be time consuming and costly for clinical staff. However, new technologies have made it easier to convert to produce relevant and critical insight in healthcare, and providing better care as a result.

One of the main considerations is how to store such a huge amount of data precisely and efficiently in a central location. Paper-based storage is costly and more liable to contain human errors compared to its digital counterpart. A cloud-based system is a more secure and potentially more accountable option as you can see exactly who has made edits and any errors will be flagged up immediately.

For reliability, these storage systems must be supported with a reliable power source that won’t fail you. To ensure the healthcare system stores Big Data in a reliable and secure system, suitable and stable power converters could be a consideration within the industry in 2018. The importance of controlling the emittance of power transferred to such systems in a safe manner, should be at the forefront of healthcare supplier’s minds.

Using Big Data in Healthcare

In conclusion, Big Data could transform the healthcare industry and it still has great untapped potential to provide insightful analysis. It doesn’t come without difficulties (such as storage and security considerations) but when used effectively, Big Data could make the future of the industry look very different.

In fact, it is already beginning to be utilised in some areas of the medical profession, for example with personalised medicine and analysis of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) across different physicians and healthcare providers. This is going some way to reducing the costs of healthcare as it eliminates the need for multiple tests, therefore improving patient care – successfully achieving the initial aims of using Big Data in the healthcare industry.

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