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Healthcare industry eyes big data for care improvement, cost reduction

Paul Newman Archive
Most businesses are already on the big data bandwagon, as they have subscribed to the idea suggested in a recent eConsultancy article - that we are already past the point of questioning the value of analytics. The inherent advantages of this approach have been evidenced by early adopters' abilities to improve a number of processes, such as pricing and distribution. The healthcare industry, on the other hand, has not completely bought into big data as an overarching solution to its spending and care quality woes, according to InformationWeek.

Many industry insiders acknowledge that insight gleaned from vast amounts of patient data can help doctors advise their patients more accurately by correlating seemingly unrelated information. The source cites a study by Kaiser Permanente that found higher rates of blood clotting in women taking a specific type of oral contraceptive. Ideally, this information should be passed around the medical field so physicians can advise patients accordingly.

A separate study by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics revealed that physicians can cut healthcare spending by identifying patterns in patient care. If they recognize that clients with certain conditions have positive outcomes with remote monitoring or monthly appointments, they can focus on those with acute conditions who improve with more intensive care. Allocating resources appropriately can reduce unnecessary spending and lead to lower costs.

However, some critics worry that even with valuable insights which have been checked for data quality, the impact of these analytic strategies won't be felt on a widespread plane if only the largest healthcare providers have access to them.