Like every other industry, the healthcare sector too is inundated with structured and unstructured data. This data is captured from multiple sources like point-of-care encounters, medical claims, pharmacy claims, lab values, biometrics, etc. The internet and social media are playing a key role in healthcare data capture and analytics. On a larger plane, data from initiatives like Health Information Exchanges (HIE) can also be effectively utilized for medical research, contributing greatly to evidence-based medicine, better assessment of incidence, prevalence and causative analysis on certain diseases, among others.
A recent coding contest held in Boston emphasized how data analytics can contribute to healthcare. The winning team created a website - "No Sleep Kills", through which people can access information on how poor sleeping patterns can lead to drowsy drivers and auto accidents. Such data and information serve as insightful inputs for providers, insurers and customers alike.
Advanced analytics can also enable healthcare organizations to penetrate new markets, grow revenues, track competition, drive product and service differentiation, acquire and retain new customers, respond to market dynamics and regulations, and help improve health outcomes.
However, Thomas H. Davenport, academic and author specializing in analytics, business process innovation and knowledge management, points out that healthcare analytics will come into its own only when data and information is seamlessly shared between the different analytical groups within the healthcare industry.
The challenges notwithstanding, Big Data Analytics is breaking new grounds in healthcare research and services. If used to its full potential, Big Data and analytics will not only give healthcare organizations a further growth impetus but also help save a few lives like what "No Sleep Kills" is trying to achieve.