Healthcare is one of those industries that always experience positive growth. This growth is mainly in sheer quantity and may not be on the quality side.
This is especially true for developing countries like India, that houses a large population base. With the increases in the demand, the industry grows, however leaving the quality and standards lagging behind a bit.
The rapid increase in technology could fix this gap in the sector growth and its quality. This is where modern data science methods come into play.
This article discusses this very topic and would also highlight the possible future that the relationship between data science and the healthcare sector would hold.
How Data Science Elevates the Healthcare sector and its Practices?
So far, Data Science has helped improved various aspects of healthcare and its facilities.
The following snapshot could give you a comprehensive idea about the same.
A few of these could be explained briefly as follows:
- Improved and Efficient Staffing
Data science helps to frecast patient loads and thereby helps to allocate staff corresponding to those patient data. This on a larger level helps improve overall patient care.
- Real-Time Alerting
It is not always possible for doctors to keep track of the health signatures of their patients at all points in time. There may be high-risk patients, who are vulnerable to sudden changes in these signatures. Data science powered models and devices helps in this scenario. Real-time data from their wearables are sent to the doctors’ devices at regular intervals. This way, they are aware of any situation of emergency.
- Enhancing Patient Engagement Through Smart Devices and AI
Personal dashboards for patients where they can monitor, compare and relate their own health signature data could prove really useful. These dashboards, built on data science models, enable the patients to get involved with their own health
and be proactive in the same. Smart devices and power-packed AI help a great deal in this feature.
- Strategic Planning and Execution Using Health Data
The most important factor for foolproof strategic planning is the information flow, both quantity, and quality. Data science models help in providing healthcare services with loads of top-notch and even real-time patient health signature data. This could be analyzed in great detail and patterns and sights could be extracted. This would definitely be useful in planning for the future and device a strategy to tackle any issues that may arise.
- Building Predictive Analytics
Data Science-based healthcare models help doctors make quick and informed decisions regarding the patients’ drug intake, mode of recovery, and the type of treatment to be followed.
- Enhancing Security Thereby Reducing Fraud
Personal healthcare data is very sensitive in nature. Due to this nature, they are in high demand among hackers and black market dealers. Almost all hospitals undergo data breach once/twice in a decade. This could be largely controlled using advanced data science based encryption technology.
- Advancement of Telemedicine
This is not a completely new process. But, with the rapid advancement of technology, this has become technology-oriented. Telemedicine can now be referred to as the delivery of clinical services with the help of technology.
- Reducing Patients’ ER Visits
Through data science models, it is now possible to maintain a single global medical record of patients which could be accessed by most of the medical services in and around the person’s area. This minimizes the redundant visits made by the same patient over and over, which could result in his/her health deterioration.
- Improved Risk and Disease Management
There is no fixed set of diseases. New and chronic ones keep emerging every year as the population grows and the whole global society expands. Data Science helps medical services to predict and keep check of new diseases breakout. The data-driven algorithm could be used to mine past data to extract insights which could be useful for managing new and existing diseases and figuring out efficient remedies for the same.
- Control and Prevention of Self-Harm
Every year there is an alarming number of suicide cases in the country, and all over the world for that matter. Data science-based electronic records, deices, and the likes analyze the patients’ data and help filter out the top 1-2% of patients
who fall in the high-risk category of self-harm. This helps monitor and control such untoward incidents altogether.
- Innovating New Drugs and Therapies
By utilizing the historical data and coupling it with the medical facts/information and predictive metrics, Data Science helps medical services come up with new drugs and therapies for diseases. This goes a long way in monitoring and controlling all forms of illness.
There is a lot that Data Science can offer the world of Healthcare. Data science could be learned in detail through GeekLurn’s Data Science course. You could use this opportunity and give back to society.
Key Data Science Skillsets For Healthcare Domain
- Medical Coding Classification Systems
- Dimensionality Reduction
- Natural Language Processing (NLP)
IBM Watson – A Special Mention
Watson is IBM’s supercomputer which uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and advanced analytical algorithms. Its answers questions thrown at it by anyone. It is named after the founder of IBM, Thomas J Watson.
Healthcare has been the primary focus of IBM. They continuously keep updating their Watson technology with the latest changes in the healthcare sector. In India, the popular healthcare brand, Apollo, recently adopted IBM’s Watson for its Oncology and Genomics. The IBM cognitive computing platforms help doctors make informed and personalized decisions on cancer care.
What Next For Data Science infused Healthcare?
Now that Data Science has made enough inroads into the healthcare stream, it could now look to find ways to cure the currently incurable ones namely AIDS, Cancer, and other serious chronic diseases.
Though there are concrete protection and safety nets in place, they don’t seem to be effective all the time. Advancements could be made in this area as well.
Rural areas are still in need of good medical services. Data Science could help reduce the overall cost incurred so that medical services could be offered to these areas at a much lower price.
The applications of data science in the healthcare sector elevate its standard manifold. With the healthcare industry evolving and growing exponentially, the onus is on them to make it balance with the quality of service provided.
With the level of technology available to the industries and to laymen, the ideal movement of healthcare should be to reduce the cost of their services thereby moving to a world where healthcare would be either free of cost or at very minimum cost. This would ensure the eradication of a lot of life-threatening diseases from the face of the planet.