Big Data is proving that it can make the world a better place. Take how its being used in healthcare as an example.
Beyond increasing profits and cutting down on costs and wastes, Big Data is keeping the people on this planet healthier. It is helping us to avoid preventable deaths, predict epidemics, improving quality of life and more.
Data certainly is partly responsible for helping us cure more people of disease. But more importantly, it is helping prevent disease in the first place.
It all started with an app. Apps that help us track our number of steps in the day, help us track our eating habits, and encourage us to be active, promote us to lead healthier lifestyles. In addition to mobile technology, wearable, data-collecting technology (like FitBits) are making healthy living trendy, cool, and easier than ever.
If we continue in the “data direction,” you may soon be able to share this data with your doctor. This means your doctor could detect something that seems off, before you come in to the doctor’s office with symptoms. This would help prevent people from getting diseases, and also allow for early detection, so treatment plans can be developed sooner.
On a less serious note, this may mean you will have to go into the doctor less frequently.
Medical and insurance records, wearable technology and sensors, real-time activity, genetic data, biometric data, social media use and online behavior are all data forms that are useful in the healthcare industry.
Unfortunately, these sources of data are all different. Records, genetics, sensors, internet. Although medical companies can collect data from each of these sources, they cannot compare and analyze the data as a whole. The dilemma is worsened by the silos within the medical field. Different silos control different data sources: administration, hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and clinics.
This dilemma could be eliminated by partnering with data professionals, that have the ability to consolidate the data from all of these disparate sources, to give doctors the complete story of their patients.
If the data dilemma is overcome, then medical professionals have access to valuable insight. They will know all about the patient’s genetics, lifestyle, habits, medical history and more. If doctors know more about an individual they are treating, they can come up with the best treatment plan, that caters to that individual’s unique genetic makeup and even their lifestyle and environment.
Not only can doctors use data to learn more about an individual (for a personalized treatment plan), but they can also learn more about diseases and treatments as a whole.
Each individual’s data can be compared and analyzed alongside thousands of others, highlighting certain patterns and threats. It also allows for optimized research. All of the data will allow for medical researches to pick the best subjects. Data sharing may also result in new discoveries.
What Can We Expect From the Future of Data and Medicine?
- Fewer visits to the doctor’s office.
- Infrequently sick.
- Telemedicine (receiving medical attention, remotely).
- Cure for cancer? (while this is not certain, it is possible, considering 96% of the available data from cancer patients has not yet been analyzed).
- Fewer epidemics (such as Ebola).
Watch this TedTalks video on the subject: