August 15, 2015


How Big Data is Driving the Consumerization of Health Care (Girish Navani, Aug. 14, 2015, US News)

Big data can help physicians understand patient behavior, which in turn impacts care delivery and their practice. For example, by offering empty appointment slots online, people can book appointments at their convenience, and the practice will have fewer open spots. Patients, as consumers of health, want flexibility.

In conjunction with mobility, big data is changing the way patients engage with their doctors and experience their treatment. Research has found that three out of five patients would choose telehealth visits over in-person appointments for minor check-ups and follow-ups. In PwC's survey, more than 50 percent of respondents would feel comfortable sending a digital photo of a rash or skin problem to a dermatologist for an opinion. Not only is the technology for "virtual treatment" available, but 64 percent of surveyed patients expressed their willingness to adopt new, non-traditional ways of seeking medical attention. In a world where services are available in an instant, doctors must start treating their patients as a customer to continue to meet their needs. That includes opening the line of communication or easier visits and quicker treatment.

Similarly, wearable devices and fitness trackers, such as FitBit or Jawbone, track activity as well as sleep patterns, heart rate and diet. Integrating a patient's electronic health record with this type of technology, and going one step further to make it accessible to doctors, has the potential to streamline a patients' medical experience and more accurately predict health problems. Compiling all of this data in one place gives doctors a goldmine of information on their patients. It also allows for a more personalized medical experience, as poor sleep patterns and weight gain could mean something different for a diabetic than it does for someone who might have a thyroid issue.

Posted by at August 15, 2015 9:19 PM

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