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Big Data Series, Part I – How Big Data is revolutionising Healthcare

Big Data revolutionises healthcare

Big data is becoming central to numerous industrial niches, as this new aspect of the technology climate continues to evolve. Big data is in fact a revelation that will impact upon, not merely every area of business, but in fact every life on the planet. And healthcare is one field that will be massively affected by this new phenomenon in the coming years.

So how will big data change the healthcare sector? Here are five transformative ways that this increasingly prominent facet on modern business architecture will impact on healthcare.

Electronic Health Records

The most obvious and widespread existing application of big data in healthcare is in relation to electronic health records. This is pretty much already operational, with patients throughout the NHS system in Britain already having digital records of numerous health-related facets of their existence.

Record sharing is becoming increasingly sophisticated, between both the public and private sector. Nonetheless, Europe lags behind the United States in this department, with the US having implemented full Electronic Health Records at 94% of medical institutions. However, a directive drafted by the European Commission Should result in a centralised European health record system by the end of the decade.

“I input a lot of patient data from a form the patient completes on paper. If the patient could complete this on a tablet or device and it was automatically synced to my note, it would be a huge time-saver.” – Pediatrician, extract from the Deloitte 2018 Survey of US Physicians


Understanding Patients More Quickly

Electronic health records are the first step in big data enabling patients to be understood and diagnosed more rapidly. This developing technology will play a major role in understanding as much about a patient as quickly as possible, and not merely during an emergency or a visit to your General Practitioner doctor.

Instead, the vision of technology experts is for doctors to understand patients as early in their life as possible, and thus hopefully pick up on warning signs of potential illnesses and vulnerabilities. This could in turn make treatment simpler, cheaper and more effective. As we all know, prevention is practically better than cure.

Rapid Data Sharing

Big data systems will also enable information to be shared extremely rapidly, with the future vision for healthcare being one defined by collaboration. Doctors will receive vast amounts of data rapidly, and this can then be utilised as part of an overall diagnostic toolbox.

Access to ever growing databases of information about the state of every single patient within healthcare systems will enable problems to be spotted before they occur, while it will also become more feasible for medicinal and educational information to be prepared in advance. Big data essentially promises faster treatment and more joined-up thinking.

Advanced Analytics

And the data related to an individual patient will certainly not be treated in isolation. Big data will make it increasingly possible to compare, contrast, juxtapose and analyse data alongside millions of others, enabling medical experts to highlight and understand patterns that emerge via comparison.

This will make sophisticated predictive modelling the norm within healthcare, ensuring that treatment can be not only tailored to the individual, but also made significantly more effective. Eventually it will become possible to personalise medicine to the specific genetic makeup of an individual.

Reshaping Clinical Trials

Big data will also play a massive role in reshaping clinical trials. The vast amount of data collected on applicants will enable researchers to pick the most suitable subject for clinical trials far more efficiently. Meanwhile, data-sharing agreements between the pharmaceutical giants in the industry will lead to frequent medical breakthroughs.