How is data science reshaping the healthcare industry?
Data science has proven beneficial for various segments of the industries. Healthcare is one of the foremost sectors, which have benefited from big data analytics. In the contemporary healthcare industry across the globe, the demand for data scientists is escalating.
Data science can effectively strengthen this particular industry in several ways. From preventing epidemics to reducing costs and curing diseases, data science has extensively reshaped the modern healthcare industry. Data science, when applied to this particular segment, uses specific data of a population to generate valuable insights for decision making.
Presently, the healthcare industry generates around 30% of the warehouse datain the world. Leaders in the healthcare domain have realized the potential of data science. Integrating data science in healthcare can result in saving around $300 billion annually. Technology has generated the opportunity to leverage the healthcare industry. Business leaders have successfully implemented some of these technologies in the domain of healthcare.
What makes data science important in the healthcare industry?
In the healthcare industry, data analytics has been one of the most important revolutions in the last decade. Adoption of data analytics can pacify healthcare to a significant extent. Here are a few instances that show how data science is changing the healthcare segment.
- The hospitals and healthcare organisations can analyse structured as well as unstructured data using various digital tools like EHRs.
- Based on the available data, medical practitioners can make valuable predictions and inferences using analytics tools and machine learning.
- In developed countries, analytics tools have already been used to enhance clinical outcomes and increase their efficiency.
- Integrating cloud computing infrastructure, large volumes of data can be processed in real time. The data scientists analyse the same to generate valuable insights needed for decision making.
- Presently, leadership in healthcare organisations has become technology-oriented. Hospital authorities are ready to embrace new tools and they are adopting new technologies.
Embracing data science: How is the healthcare industry benefiting from technology?
Here are some areas in the healthcare industry, where data science has already been implemented.
- Medical image analysis
In medical imaging, the healthcare industry has derived great benefits, applying data science. Popular techniques of imaging include computed tomography, X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and mammography, among others. In order to deal with the differences in resolution, modality and image dimensions, various methods are used.
Other techniques are being used to extract information from images and enhance the quality of data. This results in obtaining interpretations that are more accurate. The diagnostic accuracy can be enhanced by integrating deep-learning algorithms, learning from examples to suggest better solutions for treatments. Popular techniques for image-processing focus on denoising, segmentation and enhancement.
- Electronic health records (EHR)
HER is probably one of the most extensive applications of data science in the healthcare sector. This technology allows each patient to have a digital record. This includes medical history, demographics, allergies, results of laboratory tests and so on. Secure information systems are used to share these records.
Providers from both the private and public sector have access to these. A single modifiable file comes with each record. This enables the doctors to implement changes in course of time. This eliminates the possibilities of data replication and paperwork. EHRs have the ability to trigger remainders, in case a patient needs a lab test. They are also used in tracking prescriptions, so that it can be verified whether a patient is adhering to the orders of the doctors.
- Real-time alerts
The leading hospitals use Clinical Decision Support (CDS) software to scrutinise medical data in real time. This saves time and helps the doctors make precautionary choices. For instance, if the blood pressure of a patient shows an alarming rise, the system will send a real-time alert to the medical practitioners. They will take a timely action, reaching the patient and taking the necessary measures to lower the blood pressure.
Analytics, therefore, has become a new strategy in treatment processes. The data from patients is collected by wearables and these are sent to the cloud.The hospitals use sophisticated technology to regulate this massive volume of data. Each time a disturbing result shows up in the form of alerts, the doctors take precautionary actions.
- Improving patient engagement
In recent times, people have been more interested in smart devices and wearables. This has unleashed the opportunity for the healthcare industry to enhance patient engagement significantly. The smart devices can keep a track of their heart rates, number of steps and sleeping habits.
On analysing this information, the doctors can gain important insights about their health conditions. Integrated with other trackable information, this data can be used in identifying possible health risks. For instance, an increased heart rate or chronic insomnia can indicate the possibility of heart disease in future. Therefore, data analytics tools can help people enjoy a healthy lifestyle, where they can monitor their activities on their own.
- Reducing healthcare expenses
Doctors are able to make informed decisions, when they use analytics tools for data processing. As a result, they can help the patients save costs. For instance, when data analytic techniqueswere used to optimise the process of knee replacement, the healthcare provider was able to make an annual saving of 1.2 million dollars.
The organisation can benefit immensely from techniques based on data science. It is for this reason that most of the reputed hospitals across the world are hiring seasoned data scientists.In the process, preventive analytics have turned out to be one of the core areas of data science. In the coming years, technologies are expected to grow smarter. Integrating machine learning and data science in the healthcare industry can eventually reduce treatment costs.
Other areas where data science has strengthened the healthcare industry is the creation of drugs, and virtual assistance for customer support and patients. Presently, machine learning algorithms are being used to process natural language and generate accurate information.
This can be used to map the patient’s condition accurately and deliver a personalised experience. Diagnostic accuracy has been enhanced manifold using data science. The coming years are likely to witness further sophistication of data science technologies.
Mukesh Kumar Sinha, Co- Founder & COO, Gravitas AI