Big Data and the Future of Healthcare

Big DataBig data has gradually become part of everyday life. From wearable devices and smart phones to vehicles and more, data is collected from just about everywhere and everything. The healthcare industry is slowly coming on board, beginning to use big data in a myriad of ways.

Fraud Prevention

One of the biggest problems in healthcare is fraud. Identity theft, misuse of benefits, and provider payment scams are rapidly increasing, which results in billions of dollars in losses each year. Programs such as Medicare are often the target of such crimes and have taken action by investing in computer systems designed to reduce this hemorrhage of funds. Analytics derived from big data are instrumental in these efforts, able to detect savvy criminals and collusion between patients and providers.

Predicting the Future

Predictive analytics uses big data to foresee the health issues of patients. Information acquired from social media, business networking sites, medical provider visits, family health history, and more are gathered and analyzed. Intricate algorithms assess this data and signal the physician that a medical issue could be oncoming. This advanced notice allows earlier treatment and a much more positive outcome for the patient. In addition, this could help reduce the cost of healthcare by treating patients before they develop a chronic, expensive condition or emergency.

Privacy Concerns

The internet holds a wealth of information that is both public and private. When using predictive analytics to forecast healthcare needs, it is easy to see how privacy is compromised. Private information must be shared with insurers and healthcare providers to truly reap the benefits of the technology. Eventually it may be necessary to create specific privacy laws to help protect patients in this new world.

Other Notes

These programs are still in their infancy, so it’s difficult to know if big data and predictive analytics will ever affect the price of life and health insurance coverage. Current social programs spread expensive claims over a large group of insured patients to attempt to cap premiums. As the political arena changes these programs may as well, making future insurance and healthcare costs difficult to predict.

Big data in healthcare is just beginning to show its power. As technology advances, it’s very likely that this information will be used to save patients and money across the industry. For more information about the future of healthcare IT, contact ROI Networks.