How Real-Time Data is Affecting Healthcare – Part 1

Real-time data is one of the healthcare industry’s most promising applications of big data. While batched data can provide powerful insights by identifying medium and long-term trends, healthcare providers can combine streaming data with real-time processing to create minute-by-minute actionable insights. Medical devices support this use case as they are increasingly connected to centralized patient management systems and are able to relay data. These devices ‘ nature is also changing. Smart wearables already enable healthcare providers to monitor patients both during and after their hospital stay. 

A system in need

The combination of real-time data and analytics of big data promises to breathe new life into U.S. healthcare— and the system could certainly use that help. According to the 2017 report of the Commonwealth Fund evaluating 11 countries, the U.S. received the worst overall ranking of healthcare, while also spending the most. More than 16 cents go to health-related spending for every dollar the U.S. produces.

The cost of healthcare is rising as the system is facing an influx of older patients with higher needs and an increasing proportion of the chronic population. At the same time, the industry is witnessing a gradual shift to value-based payments in which health care providers focus on results rather than fee-based services alone.

According to McKinsey, physicians are also asked to focus on evidence-based medicine, which means that clinical data are systematically reviewed and treatment decisions based on the best information available. Heavy patient loads, however, along with an unprecedented flow of new data from these connected devices and electronic medical records (EMRs), make it difficult.

A deeper understanding of patient needs

Real-time data will be a key asset as these issues are addressed by the industry. It can provide a deeper understanding at the point of care of individual patient situations. This understanding can help us to reduce costs and improve results. Therefore, it’s no wonder that BIS Research saw a $14.25 billion big data market in healthcare in 2017, predicting it will grow to over $68.75 billion by 2025. According to the report, clinical analytics is the fastest growing subcategory in this market.

Analyzing patient vitality in real-time and monitoring patient care plans provides providers with the opportunity to take patient care proactively. Combining large data sets analyzes with current medical records of patients can help identify high-risk patients who may need extra attention on bedside or remote home healthcare sites.

Applications such as these are driven by a wealth of new data from a variety of sources, from connected medical devices to EMRs. Healthcare organisations, while supporting existing software and databases that provide useful financial and operational data, must ingest data from these new sources. It takes considerable IT, data science, and domain expertise to distill all this information into actionable intelligence.

Keep watching this space for more.


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