Over the course of the past ten years, technology has skyrocketed. With the huge increase in the amount of information generated, Big Data is helping businesses in all industries manage it all. In the area of healthcare, this could not be more true. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, an astounding 290,000 healthcare jobs have been added in the past 12 months alone, and this trend is only expected to rise. With an ever-increasing demand in medicine, Big Data is necessary in order for our health care system to remain productive and efficient.
Reducing Costs Through Prevention
The best time to fight disease is before it becomes problematic. Most understand the vast benefits of taking care of themselves, and Big Data is helping to make this more attainable. For starters, there are a variety of apps now available that can help us maintain proper fitness and diet. Just a few include:
- Hot5: Provides quick and easy access to five minute workouts that are simple to follow
- GymPact: Helps you devise and stick to a workout regimen
- Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal: Helps you keep track of your daily food and drink intake as well as count calories. Best of all, all you have to do is scan the barcode on your item and it automatically populates the necessary nutrition information.
- MyNetDiary Calorie Counter Pro: Easy-to-use interface that makes tracking calories a cinch
Innovations in this area of technology are currently being made, and it’s expected that, in the near future, patients will be able to transfer data from health apps to their doctor to help them better understand their health.
Innovations in Clinical Trials
There are thousands of prescription drugs on the market, and it’s crucial that they are first tested to ensure they are safe and effective for use. Big Data is also proving beneficial in this area of health care. Those in charge of testing are able to quickly upload data on those involved with the study, and this allows them to better analyze them to decide on the best ones for the most accurate results. This has already proven beneficial as it was discovered that the popular antidepressant desipramine can also be used in curing certain types of lung cancers.
Slowing the Spread of Epidemics
Epidemics can spread quickly, and when they do, it can be difficult to get them under control. Using Big Data, it’s easier than ever to stop them before they enter this dangerous stage. It’s already proven beneficial in slowing the spread of Ebola across regions of Africa. Here, the movements of impacted populations have been accurately monitored in order to make educated predictions of where the virus is spreading. Healthcare providers are able to:
- Provide preventive services in areas at risk
- Initiate restrictions in various areas
- Educate populations at risk
Tailoring Personal Medication
We all have our own unique genetic makeup, and that means a medication that cures a sickness in one person may not be effective in another. With the help of Big Data, however, it’s now possible to upload a patient’s genetic blueprint. This allows healthcare professionals the ability to compare their information with risk factors in the patient’s environment as well as develop the most viable plan on maintaining health.
A Cure for Cancer Possible With Big Data
There is even talk of a possible cure for cancer using Big Data. Using a service known as Oncology Cloud, Flatiron Health has made advancement in analyzing the estimated 96 percent of cancer data that typically is left unexplored in patients. Throughout the various stages of treatment starting with the initial diagnosis, this technology gathers data that can then be studied and provided to clinics for further research and analysis.
A New Frontier
Every day, new and exciting technological innovations are made, and it’s bringing with it exciting advancements in the healthcare industry. People are already living longer. With the ability to better predict risks using Big Data, it’s likely average life expectancy will continue to rise and people will be better protected against disease.
Philip Piletic – Originally from Europe, now situated in Brisbane, AUS. My primary focus is fusion of technology, small business and marketing, and I’m currently working as a marketing coordinator in major Australian company. This article was inspired after reviewing Praktika practice management software.