Collaboration Will be Crucial to Unveil the Potential of Big Data
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Collaboration Will be Crucial to Unveil the Potential of Big Data

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Antonio Gozain By Antonio Gozain | Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst - Thu, 02/16/2023 - 17:50

The integration of big data in healthcare has the potential to revolutionize the way medical care is provided, but it requires collaboration among providers and regulatory frameworks to maximize its impact, agree experts.

“Big data has the potential to transform the healthcare sector in numerous ways, from improving patient outcomes to driving down costs. The abundance of health-related data generated by electronic medical records, wearable devices and health apps can provide valuable information on disease trends, treatment effectiveness and patient behavior,” says Eunice Vargas, Professor and Researcher, Department of Engineering, Architecture and Design, UABC.

In the healthcare sector, data has always played a crucial role in providing better patient care. With the advent of big data, the potential impact on healthcare has been tremendous. The ability to collect, store and analyze vast amounts of data from various sources has opened up new opportunities for research, diagnosis and treatment. However, Mexico lags behind other countries in the implementation of big data, says Bruno Valera, Founder and CEO, Medikit.

"Mexico is not yet ready for big data in healthcare. While several companies have implemented electronic records for years, most doctors in Mexico have not done so. Before moving forward, we should go back and address the challenges associated with data privacy, security and regulation," says Valera.

Managing healthcare data is challenging and requires clear legal frameworks. According to Barbara Barry, Collaborative Scientist at the Division of Healthcare Delivery Research, Mayo Clinic, best practices often take years to be implemented and. An alternative to close the gap is the use of a learning health system in which knowledge generation processes are embedded in daily practices to improve healthcare, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. “This model has a person-centered care, either for the patient or the physician. The ultimate goal is to predict health issues earlier and intervene earlier to provide better care," says Barry.

By analyzing data, healthcare professionals can gain insights into patient behavior, risk factors and potential health issues. One of the key advantages of big data in healthcare is its ability to improve diagnosis and treatment. By analyzing large amounts of data, healthcare professionals can identify patterns and trends that may not be immediately apparent.

Another area where big data has the potential to make a significant impact is in clinical trials, which are an essential part of the drug development process but can be time-consuming and costly. By using big data to identify potential patients for clinical trials, researchers can significantly reduce the time and cost involved in the process.

“By leveraging vast amounts of data, healthcare organizations can improve patient outcomes, reduce costs and develop new treatments. However, it is important to ensure that privacy and security concerns are addressed and that healthcare organizations work together to develop data-sharing standards that enable seamless interoperability,” says Vargas.

Experts agree that achieving vertical integration in healthcare is a key challenge in leveraging big data for improved health outcomes. Vertical integration refers to the coordination of all stages of the healthcare process, from prevention to treatment and follow-up. This requires collaboration among healthcare providers, including hospitals, clinics and the public sector, to ensure that patient data is seamlessly shared and analyzed to improve patient outcomes. The key to make vertical integration a reality is collaboration between health players, says Valera: “If there is a will, there is a way. The technology to create this collaboration is already here.”

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is another technology that has the potential to transform healthcare. IoMT refers to the use of connected devices, such as wearables, sensors and mobile apps, to collect patient data in real-time. This data can then be analyzed to identify trends and patterns that can be used to prevent or treat health conditions.

“The IoMT is a powerful tool that healthcare providers can use to implement a data-based strategy for health prevention,” says Vargas. By remotely monitoring patients' health, providing personalized health coaching, detecting disease outbreaks early, analyzing data in real-time and managing medication smartly, healthcare providers can intervene early and prevent conditions from worsening, she adds. The IoMT generates vast amounts of data that can be analyzed to identify trends and patterns that may be indicative of a particular health condition. “By leveraging the IoMT, healthcare providers can improve patient outcomes, reduce costs and transform the healthcare industry,” says Vargas.

Photo by:   MBP

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