As healthcare professionals, we know our industry has been doing away with paper in favor of time-saving electronic health records for medical data collection. Today, millions of people around the world use health-tracking devices that collect and report data with diagnostic utility, which has the potential to improve personalized care and create better outcomes for patients.
How Collecting Patient Data Will Impact the Healthcare Industry
Healthcare is shifting its focus from diagnosis and treatment to prevention. Historically, the medical profession has been primarily reactive — for centuries, the pattern has been patients coming to their doctors whenever illnesses or health problems arise, and doctors attempting to diagnose and treat their symptoms. However, with vast stores of data tracking thousands of patients, physicians can now be far more proactive in their approach to patient care.
The global data boom permeates many aspects of our daily lives, but especially our approach to healthcare. This unprecedented amount of data in today’s healthcare industry allows us to shift focus from illness to wellness — from cure to prevention.
Why Collecting Patient Data is on the Rise
The modern healthcare industry produces data at an unprecedented rate. It generates vast quantities of data every second, and the amount is growing exponentially.
In fact, healthcare accounts for roughly 30 percent of the world’s total data and is expected to reach 36 percent of all the world’s data by 2025. To put this in perspective, the healthcare sector accumulates data 11 percent quicker than the entertainment and media sectors, 10 percent faster than the financial sector, and 6 percent more rapidly than manufacturing.
Health-tracking devices are at the forefront of patient data collection. Every day, our medical data is collected, analyzed, and stored by a plethora of new devices, apps, and monitoring systems that could not only optimize their own healthcare, but also lay a foundation for improved worldwide health and wellness.
The importance of data in healthcare is becoming more and more obvious. In the year 2010, the average person interacted with digital data 298 times each day, but that number is projected to rise to nearly 5,000 by 2025.
Portable, affordable, and comfortable patient-friendly technologies that track every aspect of a person’s health are no longer the stuff of science fiction. As devices and medical apps continue to intersect with medical technology, the healthcare sector’s data collection will improve. The next generation of technology will do more than just gather information — it will also offer advice and care.
The Value of Healthcare Data Collection
Collecting and analyzing medical information can enhance the efficiency, safety, and financial viability of healthcare systems everywhere. Nevertheless, patient data is still generally extremely underutilized.
According to a recent report from Arcadia, “only 57 percent of healthcare organizations’ data is used to make decisions,” despite the fact that 9 out of 10 healthcare leaders say that quality data across all platforms and workflows is vital to optimizing their organization’s performance. When asked why these leaders fail to invest in an analytics platform to better utilize data, 71 percent blame competing priorities, 58 percent site staffing challenges, and 47 percent claim they have an insufficient budget.
Accurate analysis and use of patient data enables us, as healthcare providers, to better accommodate our patients, provide better health outcomes, offer more individualized care, and enhance provider-patient communication.
We can also make better patient care decisions by pooling information. Data sharing ensures that all healthcare providers involved in a patient’s care have access to the most up-to-date information. In addition, the information can even involve distant doctors in treatment decisions.
More Patient Data Equates to Healthcare Savings
Patient healthcare costs are expected to increase significantly as a direct result of the staggering growth in the cost of delivering treatment. According to one estimate, analysis of healthcare data could save $300 billion yearly. Fewer readmissions for the same illness or shorter lengths of stay are two examples of savings that will result as we are able to provide more educated care.
An increased reliance on big data in public health has the potential to revolutionize the field. Our average lifespan is increasing, the populations of developing countries are growing, and the price of new medicines continues to soar.
Patient data is the key to keeping pace with healthcare’s expansion and rapidly evolving needs. But only smarter and more efficient medicine will improve the quality of the patient care we can offer.
The author, Marcus Soori, is the inventor of Tricorder.Zero™.