5 Data Trends Reshaping Healthcare

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A lot of people know data is at the forefront of reshaping our world. The insights we can get from modern data analytics far exceed any previous forms of BI. But healthcare is a unique industry. It isn’t simply about selling goods; it’s about helping people. This takes the importance of making it better to a whole different level.

These five data trends are reshaping healthcare.

Wearable Technology

It’s now extremely common to see people walking around with various kinds of wearable technologies. Health applications are one of the top uses for these products. We all know that these are able to do things like monitor heart rate and other vitals. But is that really that useful for gaining deep insights about someone’s health? It can be—especially when those inputs are processed through a larger data infrastructure. As more data is collected through wearables, this data will do a better job of predicting potential health outcomes for users. This can be extremely beneficial for preventing potentially harmful health issues.

Optimizing Backend Processes

When people think of healthcare, they tend to focus on the patient care aspect of it. But this is only the public-facing aspect of the practice. There’s a huge amount that goes on behind the scenes. In the United States, about 25 percent of hospital-related expenses are for administrative costs, according to The New York Times. That translates to around 1.4 percent of total G.D.P for the U.S. In other words, there’s a lot of room for cutting costs, and making things more efficient in this arena. By implementing healthcare BI as offered by companies like ThoughtSpot, administrators can identify issues within their operations. Optimizing backend procedures will make things run more smoothly in hospitals, as well as reduce costs for patients.


Identifying At-Risk Patients

Hospital readmission is silently one of the biggest problems facing the healthcare industry today. Between 15 and 25 percent of discharged patients will be readmitted to a hospital within 30 days. This problem is twofold. On the humanistic side, this is hard on patients, especially after going through a recent hospitalization. But it’s also a huge drain on resources. Billions of dollars are wasted every year on avoidable readmissions.

Clover Health is using data to better identify when patients need care. Their platform has reduced readmissions by 34 percent, and admissions by 50 percent.

Artificial Intelligence Recognizing Overarching Patterns

There are ways that data can help patients on an individual level. However, data is also being used to improve healthcare by looking at massive patterns. When dealing with extremely large, seemingly unrelated sets of data, it’s difficult, if not impossible, for humans to make any sense of it.

This is where artificial intelligence comes into play. Potentially life-saving patterns are hiding right under our noses. It was recently discovered that an anti-depressant called Desipramine might have future applications in curing lung cancer. This discovery was facilitated by the use of AI, which combed through massive pools of data to find the connection. As we head into the future, AI will continue facilitate similar breakthroughs.

Reduce Waste

Data is often best used for reducing inefficiencies. The healthcare industry is full of wasteful practices that can be potentially improved with a bit of reorganization. Some estimates say over a third of annual healthcare spending in the U.S. is patently wasteful. It can be difficult for healthcare practitioners and administrators to navigate the waters of waste.

There are so many variables to consider when determining the best course of action. And often, certain procedures are required by predetermined protocol. At the end of the day, no good comes from waste. If healthcare providers are able to identify, and alleviate, some of these causes, it will be better for patients and organizations.

The healthcare industry is going to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the data revolution. There are so many ways data can improve treatment and services in this field. Keep an eye on how these trends are going to completely reshape healthcare.

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Samantha Acuna is a writer based in San Francisco, CA. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, and Yahoo Small Business.