You are on page 1of 5

Morley 1 Beth Morley Dr.

Frances English 212: Visual Approaches to Composition 12 March 2014 Big Data in the Healthcare Industry Big data is defined as “a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications” (Groves 4). Today, big data is making significant strides within the healthcare industry. The right data in the right hands at the precise time is predicted to dramatically improve the quality of care while decreasing costs (Gooch). For instance, big data in healthcare can predict future diseases and illnesses by using advanced technology. By tracking a patient’s health history, healthcare providers are able to predict a future problem or sudden relapse within the same patient. Although big data is a huge progression to what healthcare can become, it also faces complications. Critics of big data are worried about privacy and confidentiality of the patients themselves. Although big data in the healthcare industry still has significant steps to take in patient confidentiality, it is producing a better, more efficient healthcare system for generations to come by predicting illnesses. So far, the healthcare industry has largely been focused on using data to identify what has already happened (Gooch). As of today, the healthcare industry is using big data to predict future illnesses utilizing previous health records. As expressed in "Insights & Publications," recent technological developments have made it easier to gather and analyze information from multiple sources, which is a major benefit in healthcare. For a single patient, data may come

Morley 2 from various payers, hospitals, and physician offices (Kayyali). Undoubtedly, big data is providing the healthcare industry with a new and improved way of collecting data to foretell future patient information. Additionally, big data is being used to ultimately lower the cost of healthcare. As stated by Stacey Schneider, “investors are aiming to use big data to predict when you are going to get sick, and then use that information to better advise you, saving you additional pain and healthcare costs” (Schneider). The data in the healthcare industry can create an overall better lifestyle for many individuals struggling with hospital finances. Also, the ways in which big data is being collected from patients illustrates the advancement to better living in progress. Healthcare is quickly becoming a digitized industry, generating immense amounts of data that can be analyzed to improve the health of many individuals (Rijmenam). A way in which big data is digitally collected to predict future illnesses is presented in the article, “How Big Data Will Change Your Industry.” Recently, some hospitals have provided nurses, doctors and patients with what is called an RFID chip. By inserting the RFID chip in the patient’s or doctor’s card, the hospital will be able to better and more efficiently manage an overall healthcare experience. As stated by Mark Rijmenam, “an RFID chip is a sensor that can provide insight into the relationship between patient satisfaction and the amount of time a doctor or nurse spent with the patient.” In addition to patient satisfaction, the chip can show how far the nurses and doctors have to walk across the hospital to care for their patients (Rijmenam). The RFID chip is a source of big data because it provides the healthcare industry with a sense of how much care the patient is actually getting. How much proper care presented to a patient is crucial in predicting whether or not such patient will walk away healthy or develop another illness. How

Morley 3 the healthcare industry is using the information collected from big data is a key factor in predicting future illnesses. How data is used in hospitals, physician offices, and laboratories can have a big impact on patients all over the United States. The big data collected is critical for multiple research studies. For example, researchers are looking for “hot spots” of disease occurrence and applying genetic research to those areas to create a better understanding of the genetic traits involved in illnesses (Schneider). Big data is helping to refine research as well as creating more personalized medical treatments for patients. Additionally, big data is changing the way in which doctor’s practice medicine. The data collected can be a part of how the doctor or nurse operates and deals with a patient diagnosed with a certain type of illness. Overall, big data is a necessity in the advancement of medical practices and finding cures. Including finding cures for unknown diseases, big data benefits the healthcare industry in tremendous ways. Through big data, “patients are encouraged to play an active role in their own health by making the right choices about diet, exercise, preventive care, and other lifestyle factors” (Kayyali). Ultimately, big data sets an example for patients and doctors. As expressed in "The 'Big Data' Revolution in Healthcare," any professionals who treat patients must have strong performance records and be capable of accomplishing the best outcomes (Groves 6). In order to find the best physicians, big data can potentially expose which doctors have the best and worst records. This part of big data is beneficial for most families in the United States looking for the right caregiver. Generally, big data is beneficial in finding and creating new healthcare strategies. Although big data has many positive attributes, it also has a main issue of dealing with patient privacy.

Morley 4 Critics of big data would agree that the biggest downfall of such data is patient confidentiality. Researchers deal with taking the time to treat their patients with the best care, whatever the cost. However, the cost to pay is patient privacy. The data collected from each patient is used in many ways and passed on throughout many systems (Groves 8). The personal information patients provide is forever in the hospital system. Additionally, the government or other services are able to get ahold of such personal information, hence the debate over privacy invasion. The healthcare industry continues to use big data even though the privacy of patients is in fact at risk (Kayyali). Overall, healthcare should have a better system to deal with privacy issues and patient confidentiality. Big data is unquestionably making strides in the healthcare industry. The vast information collected can predict future diseases and illnesses using new technology advancements. Big data is beneficial not only for patients, but for physicians too. The information can help find future cures for different illnesses. Although, big data in the healthcare industry can be beneficial, the one downfall is patient confidentiality. Big data collects a massive amount of personal information that could be resurfaced later on in life for the better or for the worse. Additionally, big data can have an impact on multiple different research studies. An example of big data in healthcare is that of the RFID chip. The RFID chip helps establish how much care a patient receives in order to predict whether or not the individual may have a relapse in the specific illness already present (Rijmenam). To conclude, big data alone is producing significant findings in medicine that could change the way healthcare operates in the many generations to come.

Morley 5 Works Cited Gooch, Jamie. "Predictive data leads to action for individual member needs." Managed Healthcare Executive. 01 Mar. 2013: 56. eLibrary. Web. 19 Feb. 2014. Groves, Peter. "The 'Big Data' Revolution in Healthcare." Center for U.S Health System Reform Business Technology Office (2013): 1-19. McKinsey&Company, Jan. 2013. Web. 19 Feb. 2014. Kayyali, Basel. "Insights & Publications." The Big-data Revolution in US Health Care. N.p., Apr. 2013. Web. 28 Feb. 2014. <http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/health_systems_and_services/the_bigdata_revolution_in_us_health_care>. Rijmenam, Mark. "How Big Data Will Change Your Industry." The Big Data and the Analytics Hub. N.p., 10 Feb. 2014. Web. 28 Feb. 2014. <http://www.ibmbigdatahub.com/blog/how-big-data-will-change-your-industry>. Schneider, Stacey. "3 Examples of Big Data Making a Big Impact on Healthcare." Pivotal POV. N.p., Oct. 2010. Web. 28 Feb. 2014. <http://blog.gopivotal.com/p-o-v/3-examples-of-bigdata-making-a-big-impact-on-healthcare-this-week>.