As Greta Kaul of the San Francisco Chronicle recently noted, the high cost of healthcare remains a salient “pain point” for many American families. Unsurprisingly, many in the industry are turning to Big Data analytics to help alleviate some of the discomfort.
“[It could] lop off, by some estimates, 8 percent of the trillions in national health care expenditures spent in the United States each year,” writes Kaul.
“[This is why], for the first time, data and analytics received more venture funding than any other digital health category last year: $393 million.”
According to Dr. Gaurav Singal, a director at Foundation Medicine, data sharing is especially transformative in connecting doctors treating the same condition in far-flung parts of the country or the world. In addition, says Zephyr Health CEO William King, data can also help pharmaceutical companies identify specific patients for clinical trials and help new prescription drugs hit the market.
That is why healthcare is expected to be a primary driver of the cross-industry Big Data market worldwide – with Transparency Market Research projecting a massive increase from $6.3 billion to $48.3 billion by 2018.
“As healthcare embraces the need for accurate data, real-time insights into financial performance and patient care, and a better understanding of population health management and consumer behaviors, big data analytics will continue to be a sound investment,” Jennifer Bresnick of HealthITAnalytics confirmed.
“[Although] the ability of healthcare providers to effectively leverage analytics tools may be threatened by the current lack of sufficient qualified talent, a keen sense of the value of Big Data is leading many organizations to invest heavily in securing experts in clinical and financial data management.”
More specifically, says Bresnick, Cloud computing, mHealth and computer assisted coding technologies are fueling significant investment in the underlying infrastructure that supports predictive Big Data analytics and prescriptive insights into patient care and business intelligence.
Of course, Big Data analytics isn’t limited to healthcare. As Intel VP and General Manager Ron Kasabian stated in a recent Data Stack blog post, Big Data analytics can be applied across multiple verticals, including smart cities, banking and agriculture.
“With powerful analytics solutions, physicians can diagnose illnesses faster and create personalized treatment plans,” Kasabian explained. “Retailers can better understand buying behaviors to stock up on the products people are most likely to need. Car manufacturers can use predictive failure analysis to make repairs proactively—before customers find themselves stuck on the side of the road.”
It should be noted that Intel and the European-based Teratec recently announced a Big Data lab initiative to spearhead research initiatives focused on personalized health-care, smart cities and precision agriculture.
According to Kasbian, the lab’s efforts will accelerate research initiatives, develop proof of concepts and promote real-world trials that will eventually lead to full-scale deployments.
“Ultimately, we all expect that these initiatives will lead to practical and repeatable Big Data solutions that can be leveraged around the world to improve the human condition, not just in Europe, but around the world,” he said. “While the goals are lofty, the mission is clear and the alternatives for not pursuing could be dire.”
Interested in learning more about Big Data analytics? You can check out “Navigating Big Data analytics” here, “Increasing crop yields with Big Data” here and “Big Data solutions inside, future urban sustainability outside” on Intel’s Data Stack blog here.