BigDataScalability.com – Big data changes how we manage, analyze, and leverage data. This happens across industries. Yes, including the healthcare industry. But how exactly is big data used in the healthcare industry? What are big data use cases in healthcare?
The answer is, well, there are many applications of big data in healthcare. From EHRs, patient predictions, real-time alerting, learning, and development to help manage mass diseases and predictive analytics. Our list below will give you an idea of how big data is used in healthcare.
Table of Contents
15 Big Data Use Cases in Healthcare
1. Electronic Health Records
Electronic Health Records or EHRs are among the most widespread big data use cases in healthcare industry. Every patient has their own digital record which includes medical history, laboratory test results, allergies, and demographics, among other things.
With big data, these EHRs are shared through secure information systems. They are available for healthcare providers, both public and private. Each record is comprised of a modifiable file. This allows doctors to change it as necessary without paperwork and the danger of data replication.
Using EHRs, healthcare providers can remind and warn a patient when they should get a new lab test. Healthcare providers can also track the patient’s prescriptions to see if they have been following doctors’ orders properly.
2. Patient Predictions for Better Staffing
One of the classic issues that shift managers must deal with on daily basis is staffing. If you put too many staff, you may run the risk of increasing the labor costs when it is not necessary. Conversely, if you put too few, customer service outcomes may become undesirable. This, in turn, can be fatal for patients.
By leveraging big data, healthcare providers can make accurate patient predictions. With these predictions, they can allocate resources accordingly. Thus, resulting in better staffing and, ultimately, improving the overall patients care.
3. Real-time Alerting
Another example of big data use cases in healthcare is real-time alerting. Hospitals are utilizing Clinical Decision Support Systems. These are programs that analyze medical data on the spot, providing health practitioners with insights as they make prescriptive decisions.
Doctors, however, want patients to stay away from hospitals as much as they possibly can considering how expensive in-house treatments can be. Real-time alerting, made possible by wearables and big data, can help lower in-house treatments.
Using real-time alerting, doctors can reach the patient and administer necessary measures for the situation. For example, if the blood pressure of a patient is increasing rapidly, the system will send a live alert to the doctor. In turn, the doctor administers measures to lower the patient’s blood pressure.
4. Improve Patient Engagement
Healthcare providers can leverage big data to improve patient engagement. So yes, it is one of the big data use cases in healthcare. Big data makes patient engagement easier to do. With big data, patients can monitor and actively participate in taking care of their health.
Many potential patients are interested in smart devices or wearables that record their health data (their heart rates, steps they take, sleeping habits, etc.) regularly.
For example, patients suffering from high blood pressure or asthma can monitor their conditions using these devices. With the information they have at hand, they can become more engaged in their own health, and independent, and reduce unnecessary doctor visits.
5. Informed Strategic Planning
The next example of big data use cases in healthcare is informed strategic planning. Like in any other industry, strategic planning in healthcare must be done carefully.
Decision makers in the healthcare industry can leverage big data to gain better insights. With better insights, they can do strategic planning better.
For example, care managers can analyze check-up results among patients on different demographic grounds and identify factors that discourage them from taking up treatment.
6. Mitigate Hospitalization Risks
Mitigating hospitalization risks is also one of the big data use cases in healthcare. Healthcare providers can leverage big data to mitigate hospitalization risks. Leveraging big data, healthcare providers are better equipped to track hospitalization risks for people with chronic diseases.
For example, by analyzing various criteria such as medication intake, frequency of doctor visits, as well as symptom security, clinics can provide patients with targeted preventive care. This, in turn, may reduce hospital admissions.
Also, by leveraging big data, hospitals can predict who might be admitted. This enables hospitals to prepare well in advance as they can allocate space and resources to accommodate prospective patients.
For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors in the US are utilizing big data to collect information from all over the country to identify vulnerable spots that are at the greatest risk.
7. Risk and Disease Management
Healthcare providers can utilize big data for many things. One of them is risk and disease management. This is related to mitigating hospitalization risks as one of the big data use cases in healthcare.
Big data is a huge amount of data through which healthcare organizations can gain insights into patients’ medication type, symptoms of diseases, medical visit frequency, and many others.
With these insights, healthcare organizations are better equipped to provide patients with better, more accurate preventative care.
8. Staffing and Personnel Management
Big data use cases in healthcare are not just about patient care. It includes staffing and personnel management, too. By using data-driven analytics, healthcare organizations are able to predict when more staff is needed and where accurately.
In addition, the abundance of medical data analysis will help the senior staff to offer the right level of support whenever it is required, make important personnel and staff management processes as efficient as possible, and improve strategic planning.
9. Learning and Development
The skills, abilities, and confidence of healthcare staff are very important considering how it can be a matter of life and death. For a healthcare institution to run at optimum capacity, continual learning and development are necessary. Unsurprisingly, it is one of the big data use cases in healthcare.
This is where big data can help. Using big data, a healthcare institution is able to not only keep track of employee performance across the board but also training data. This, in turn, allows the institution to gain insights into who needs training and when.
10. Reduce Fraud and Improve Security
Some studies have shown that nearly every healthcare organization has experienced a data breach at some point. This is hardly surprising considering how valuable personal data is. Of course, any data breach would have significant consequences.
The good news is healthcare organizations can leverage big data to improve their security. Not only that, but organizations can also use big data to reduce fraud, thus saving money.
Note that while reducing fraud and improving security are among big data use cases in healthcare, big data does come with its own security issues. But thanks to advances in security like firewalls, encryption technology, anti-virus software, and others, the benefits of big data outweigh its risks.
11. Prevent Human Error
Regardless of the industry, human error is common. It is something to be expected. The problem is, in the healthcare industry, human error is costly. It is estimated that human error accounts for around 6% of a healthcare provider’s expenses.
That’s not all. Human error also puts patients’ well-being and lives at risk. If a patient is prescribed with wrong treatment, medicine, or dosage, they may experience long-lasting consequences or even death. Thus, it is necessary to prevent human error as much as possible.
Healthcare providers can leverage big data to prevent human error. For example, healthcare providers can detect prescription errors before they even occur by analyzing patients’ prescription patterns. The same can be done with dosage rangers, treatments, tests, and other procedures.
So, among the big data use cases in healthcare is to prevent human error. By preventing human error, big data helps healthcare providers to lower costs, but also improve the overall well-being of patients.
12. Develop New Therapies and Innovations
One of the most important big data use cases in healthcare is in development of new therapies and innovations. New therapies and innovations can improve patient outcomes and care. The problem with developing new therapies and innovations is that it is incredibly time-consuming and expensive.
By utilizing big data, healthcare organizations can reduce the time and resources necessary to develop new therapies and innovations. Utilizing big data, healthcare experts can pinpoint the potential strengths as well as weaknesses of trials and processes.
R&D deals with a huge amount of data. With big data, R&D can focus on the right data, reducing the time and resources required in the process. Big data also removes the guesswork, helping healthcare experts to develop better, more precise new therapies and innovations.
13. Improve Telemedicine
The next on our list of big data use cases in healthcare is improving telemedicine. While it has been around for more than 40 years, telemedicine hasn’t come into full bloom until recently.
It is thanks to technologies such as smartphones, video conferences, wearables, and wireless devices that healthcare providers can deliver remote clinical services effectively.
Telemedicine has many uses. From primary consultations, initial diagnosis, and remote patient monitoring, to medical education for healthcare professionals. Healthcare providers use telemedicine to provide patients with personalized treatment plans and prevent hospitalization or readmission.
14. Help Manage Mass Diseases
Big data plays an important role in managing mass diseases. Take the COVID-19 pandemic for example. The widespread nature of COVID presented a challenge to the healthcare industry as it tries to learn from it and manage it.
Leveraging big data, health experts were able to track in real-time how the disease was spreading, how fast the virus mutated, and the effect the disease was having on different parts of the world.
In the EU, for example, hospitals were using software known as InferRead, which enables healthcare providers to perform an early diagnosis of patients and prevent the spread of COVID.
15. Predictive Analytics
The last on our list of big data use cases in healthcare is predictive analytics. Predictive analysis is among the biggest business intelligence trends in recent years.
It is important to note that the potential applications of business intelligence are not restricted only to business. If anything, they are far beyond business. Like any other industry, the healthcare industry can benefit from business intelligence, too.
Using online business intelligence, healthcare providers can make data-driven decisions within seconds as well as improve patients’ treatment. This is beneficial for all patients, especially those with complex medical histories.
Business intelligence solutions also have predictive power. Using these solutions, healthcare providers will be able to determine who is at risk of a certain condition and take the necessary steps to help the individual in question manage their health.
Big data is changing the healthcare industry. As our examples have shown, there are a lot of big data use cases in healthcare. From EHRs to predictive analytics.
It revolutionizes the industry as a whole as it doesn’t just improve patient care and outcomes, but also increases the efficiency of healthcare organizations. It benefits everyone involved in the industry. Most importantly, patients.