Data is revolutionising the healthcare industry. It is no surprise that just as we generate enormous amounts of personal data as we use our devices and apps, we also produce healthcare data that can be gathered and analysed by our healthcare providers.
Instead of targeted advertising, however, this healthcare data can be used to produce better health outcomes and transform both treatment and prevention.
Approximately 30 per cent of the world’s data is being generated by the healthcare industry; by 2025, the compound annual growth rate of data for healthcare is expecting reach 36 per cent, and healthcare providers need to utilise data effectively to stay competitive.
We are what we wear
But where does this data come from? For starters, it comes from the devices with which we surround ourselves. Since we have already become accustomed to our smartphones and wearable tech tracking and monitoring us, it makes sense that this can be utilised for health purposes.
Today, many of us wear devices that measure our heart rate or blood pressure — important data that can influence our health. These devices can upload this information to the cloud or remote servers, making it easy to collate and analyse it.
This is only the beginning. In the future, we may be using a plethora of wearable technology with stunning implications for healthcare, whether that is earbuds that measure our core temperature, socks that measure a baby’s heart rate, or underwear that can detect cancer — and send all that data to medicals database, enabling doctors to make instant assessments.
The possibilities are endless, and many of these devices will soon be a key part of the consumer healthcare market.
Implications of healthcare data
The healthcare data gathered about us can be funnelled directly into our personal medical records, accessible to doctors and other practitioners for easy analysis. Smart artificial intelligence and machine learning tools will be able to make better, real-time judgements about our health, allowing doctors to diagnose us accurately and suggest better treatments and medications.
One of the most widespread applications of data is electronic health records — constantly updated digital databases containing a patient’s medical history. These can be accessed and modified by doctors, giving them a holistic view of an individual’s health record based on real-time data.
This will give doctors the ability to practice an extremely personalised form of healthcare, tailored and constructed around the needs of the individual. For instance, predictive analytics can identify risk factors for diabetes to determine which patients are most at risk, and therefore prescribe additional screenings or specific treatment.
Data is a powerful tool. Predictive analytics and real-time data gathering can inform and streamline strategic planning, enhance patient engagement, manage risk, and improve any number of different processes. By cutting costs and improving healthcare outcomes, data will soon become an essential part of the healthcare provider’s toolset.