Big Data and Healthcare
By Matt Brennan
The last decade has seen a significant spike in the amount of data we generate in just about every activity. The ways in which we analyze this data and understand it have also expanded. One industry where these trends have had a significant positive impact is in healthcare.
The ability to improve our health through technology all starts with what we carry around in our pockets on a daily basis.
Smartphones and Health Data
Our smart phones contain the tools we need to emphasize prevention over cure. We have applications designed to store massive amounts of health data, and applications that can turn our phone into a pedometer that measures how many steps we take in a given day. There are applications that serve as a food journal, tracking our daily calorie intake.
Wearable health technology such as Fitbit or Apple Watch have also seen a tremendous rise in popularity. At some point, physicians may be able to access this technology to understand their patients’ fitness and dietary habits.
The technology that we use on a daily basis to understand our own health has significant potential on an individual and group level. It could also be used to understand the health habits of various demographics.
Mayo clinic, CVS, and Apple Watch all have a strategic partnership with IBM’s Watson. This partnership offers patients an added layer of diagnostic help and preventative care. New medical insights can be gained through the analysis of real-time data.
The same technology that brings cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to life could potentially improve access to patient records. It could also provide added levels of security to sensitive patient data.
More physicians are coming on board with the idea of remote appointments and telemedicine. This offers patients the added convenience of not having to make a trip into the office, and instead receiving remote care.
All jokes aside, smart toilets use can collect data to calculate measurements such as your BMI, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. These markers can help you determine when there is an anomaly and you need to see a doctor. You can think of it as a toilet’s version of a check engine light.
Your toilet might be able to provide diabetics, women looking to conceive, or the general health-conscious population with a tremendous amount of insight. While many of these toilets are still significantly pricey, for those looking for fast analysis, the investment may be worth it.
Big data has a tremendous potential to advance healthcare and provide better patient insights. It’s important for healthcare companies to understand the role that data can play in user experience. When IT experts and data scientists can collaborate with those in the medical field, the potential to improve human well-being will skyrocket.
Access to new amounts of health-related data can continue to revolutionize the healthcare industry for the future.