For years we’ve heard about how data has been fueling a dramatic transformation of the healthcare industry. It has driven sweeping change around everything from the way we identify and treat disease to the steps healthcare organizations have taken to streamline billing and combat fraud. Most recently, Apache Hadoop and the larger open-source ecosystem have been at the center of this data revolution, enabling pioneers to more cost-effectively drive change and impact the lives of patients worldwide. Some of the most powerful innovations made possible by Hadoop are in the area of precision medicine and genomics with solutions that contributed to the sequencing of the human genome while also providing insight into population health by ingesting and storing data from millions of patients through digital health records. The insights gained have accelerated the path towards effectively treating terminal illness as well as managing chronic disease by helping researchers identify and isolate genetic markers and successful paths for treatment based on individual patient data.
Just as important are the advancements made possible through the Internet of Things in areas like Remote Patient Monitoring. This advancement is particularly appealing due to it’s ability to increase quality of care while reducing both patient risk and cost of care, all benefits being realized across multiple industries through the analysis of sensor data available through devices connected to the Internet of Things. Many patients no longer need to remain hospitalized for conditions that once required an overnight stay with their care being monitored remotely by physicians who are able to intervene as needed when alerted by data collected from remote devices. In many ways, the hospital bed has become the largest monitoring device, allowing hospital staff to track and view the vital statistics of patients in their care and alerting them to changes that require intervention before a crisis occurs.
Sensor data is also being used by Cloudera and Intel to better understand and treat chronic diseases like Parkinson’s Disease. By partnering with the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Cloudera and Intel have begun to identify patterns through wearable monitors that can track patient symptoms. These results are combined with patient provided symptom data as well as medication usage which are tracked on a mobile application that provides continuous feedback to participants. Over time, this IoT data helps medical teams develop strategies to treat the disease and could lead to future breakthroughs not possible with traditional approaches to care.
The evolution of machine learning and it’s potential to impact the healthcare industry is becoming more evident daily, with technology that promises to transform the way doctors think about providing patient care. More and more providers are starting to use cognitive analytics to aid in the diagnosis of patients, often driven by new programs for imaging and diagnostics that require large amounts of data to be analyzed rapidly. As computers and deep learning algorithms are getting more adept at recognizing patterns of data that are often not apparent to humans, this promises to revolutionize the level of care each patient can receive as well as the ability for physicians to quickly diagnose conditions that were once difficult to detect through conventional means.
Healthcare has always been on the forefront of technology adoption and as we look to future advances in data discovery and security that are just beginning to unfold, the interest in blockchain reflects that spirit. Being positioned by many as the next frontier in healthcare data security advancement, leaders across healthcare are excited about blockchain’s ability to address the interoperability challenges facing the industry today as it provides the necessary balance between security and distribution of personal health data. While blockchain has been largely used in the financial services industry, it has only recently been touted as a solution that could greatly benefit the secure data needs of healthcare with many believing it will become the next big healthcare technology innovation, particularly as it relates to payments and payer contracts. Another possible healthcare application for blockchain is around population health. With blockchain, health information exchanges could be eliminated as the way to aggregate data, allowing organizations to eliminate the middleman and access patient databases on a large, population scale.
With the many discoveries and changes being made possible through advances in big data, the future of healthcare looks bright!
Here are some sessions at Strata + Hadoop World San Jose that might be of interest:
Saving Lives With Data: Identifying Patients at Risk of Decline
Big Data as a Force for Good
Individualized Care Driven by Wearable Data and Real-Time Analytics
The Future of Open Data: Building Businesses with a Major National Resource