Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Three Ways Big Data Will Improve Healthcare

According to Mark van Rijmenam, author of Three Innovative Ways Big Data Will Improve the Healthcare Industry, there are vast amounts of data collected every year in the healthcare industry. Just as the title suggests, there are three ways big data will improve the healthcare industry: personalized medicines and treatments, improving patient care, and preventing fraudulent behavior. My first thought when reading this article was that it is especially interesting that Rijmenam was able to put a figure to how much data a fully sequenced human genome actually accounts for. As we learned in class, it is extremely difficult to put value on a piece of data, so it surprised me that he could specify the exact size of each individual’s data to 100 gigabytes.
It has always occurred to me how much big data could affect the healthcare industry, but I didn’t realize the personal extent of it. For example, when Rijmenam discussed how big data could lead to personalized treatments and improving patient care, he argued that a sequenced genome can provide doctors with the knowledge of how certain medicines will affect that individual, as well as his/her’s chances of getting a particular disease. It amazes me that doctors could have the ability to prescribe medicine and diagnose on an individual basis. Initially, I was under the impression that this is the type of big data that most people would be comfortable with because it has the potential to create many benefits. However, once the article mentioned having sensors placed inside or attached to the body to improve patient care, I began to think otherwise. The use of sensors, especially in-body sensors, is extremely eerie, for the sole fact that someone is monitoring every breath and heartbeat the individual has. Attached below is a video I found that advertises an attachable sensor called Lumee, which enables individuals to track either his/her own health and wellness, or a loved one’s. Although the intent of the advertisement was to demonstrate a device that could improve health, the video in-fact confirmed my belief that the use of sensors triggers major privacy concerns.
The most interesting point Rijmenam made was the idea that big data can detect and prevent fraudulent behavior on the doctor’s end. From my own personal experience, it is very common when hearing that doctors want to run more tests and try out different treatments that seem to be completely unnecessary, so the idea that health insurance companies can detect whether those measures were necessary or not with the use of big data is very intriguing.

It is evident that as technology advances, big data (or some might say big brother) evolves and has the potential to impact the healthcare industry in both positive and negative ways. While some people may feel that this type of big data would be beneficial for their personal health, others may feel that they want to monitor their health in traditional ways for privacy purposes.

1 comment:

  1. Brianna’s article peaked my interest because of the versatility of the technology. The article listed personalized medicine and treatment, improving patient care and preventing fraud as major benefits of the way to use bid data and I can clearly see how each is positive in its own way. It could be life saving if doctors and nurses were able to administer specific medicines and treatments in the least amount of time, based on the data analysis of the patient’s medical data. This technology could also help improve people’s basic standard of living because family members or healthcare professionals would be able to monitor them and make sure they’re getting proper amounts of sleep, food, hydration, etc. Healthcare providers and therefore, those paying the premiums for their plans, would benefit from the fraud monitor because the companies would be able to lower costs by holding fraudulent doctors accountable.

    While these are all great aspects of the technology that Brianna outlined and critiqued in her synopsis, I identified a benefit that the author did not mention in his article. This type of medical data analytics would be beneficial to the entire population, not just the elderly. If people were constantly able to check on their various levels of health, from blood pressure to iron levels and beyond, they would be able to make behavioral changes that would benefit them and society in the long term. This would take the strain off of the healthcare system as a whole and save American taxpayers millions of dollars a year. This technology could be a guide for people to begin living healthier lives.

    Obviously this would be a wonderful way to use the technology. However, with personal information tracking comes privacy concerns and as Brianna mentioned, “Big Brother”. I am of the opinion that government and other outside entities should have as little influence or control on individuals as possible. While I believe this technology could have great upside, the negative ways in which this information could be used and manipulated concerns me to the extent that it is almost not worth risking implementing a project like this.


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