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Medicine is both a universal concern and a big business across the world. The unique, ubiquitous nature of medical care – something everyone needs at points in their lives – means it can derive some major benefits from effective and novel applications of big data and predictive analytics. With business intelligence software like the IBM Cognos suite of products in play, healthcare providers can make a number of advances, from more effective risk factor profiling to collecting and utilizing individualized patient data. That second possibility is currently a hot topic in some areas of the medical world.

The concept of advanced personalized care

Widely sourced patient data could eventually provide the kind of preventative care that is only a theory in the present day. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Dr. Eric Schadt said he's working on a variety of approaches that would capture individualized information from patients through a number of mobile devices. That includes general purpose technology intended to measure various biometrics as well as more specialized tools focused on a specific bodily process or function. Schadt is the director for the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology, part of New York City's Mount Sinai Hospital.

That data would then be used to better understand broad-based health trends as well as provide important information about potential conditions for individual patients. Personalized risk identification is just the first step, with individualized treatment an exciting possibility as well. With a wealth of broad and specific information at hand, healthcare providers could engage in more proactive care while also better tailoring treatment options to the unique needs of each patient.

"The biggest medical systems are going to own no hospitals," Schadt said to The Huffington Post. "It's going to be devices that are monitoring the lives of millions of patients simultaneously, that are looking to see if you have the beginning signs of cancer emerging – not to treat the cancer, but to prevent the cancer from ever emerging."

Healthcare outcomes could improve significantly with the effective application of predictive analytics and big data. Healthcare outcomes could improve significantly with the effective application of predictive analytics and big data.

Health systems already using predictive analytics successfully

This wide-scale application of predictive analytics and big data is impressive in its scope and reach. However, it is in many ways building on ideas that have already been successfully implemented in the healthcare world.

The IBM Big Data & Analytics Hub reported on a variety of initiatives undertaken by health systems that rely on elements of these advanced computing functions to increase the health of their patient populations. HealthInfoNet, A Maine nonprofit that helps providers in the state coordinate their efforts uses the combined data of more than 1 million patient records to identify risk factors for emergency room visits. By sharing this data with healthcare facilities, doctors and other healthcare professionals are now able to notify patients who demonstrate risk factors before they arrive in the emergency room, instead of after.

Similar efforts by healthcare systems in the Carolinas and Iowa, focused on lifestyle risk factors and post-operation infection risk, respectively, demonstrate the power of big data and predictive analytics in the healthcare world. The growing number of potential applications, and their increase in scope, should be exciting for healthcare providers of all types.

Using new technology to its fullest in healthcare

Aviana's work in the healthcare field means we're not only knowledgeable about using big data and predictive analytics to their fullest extent, we also understand the unique nature of the industry. With this mix of technological and industry-specific experience, we offer a unique value proposition to all of our healthcare clients. To learn more, visit our dedicated industry page.