Big Data For Better Healthcare

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Nobody likes getting sick, but when we do, we need to be assured that the doctor will have the best diagnosis information and techniques available. The last thing we want is unnecessary awkward examinations and a spill of technical terms. Nobody wants to experience the helpless feeling that can come with having to accept a diagnosis that we may not have the knowledge and experience to fully understand.

Thankfully, most doctors can help the most nervous of patients, even in spite of the confusion created by online self-diagnosis tools. New big data analysis tools for health professionals are helping to improve diagnosis data and helping to reshape the way medicine is practiced.

In the past, scientists would set up a hypothesis, test that hypothesis and then build the conclusion of that into the next experiment. Computers are now fundamentally changing scientists’ ability to track and use the process of trial and error.

Today, instead of testing new drugs on thousands of patients to determine whether they’re going to work, the pharmaceutical industry can use computer simulated experiments based on huge amounts of both old and current data to deliver results faster. More theoretical tests can be done in less time, with lower cost and lower risk. This means that by the time drugs are tested, they are closer to being broadly usable and the time to distribute them to doctors and patients is reduced.

People are also becoming more aware and receptive of the powerful impact that big data could have on their lives. A recent global study entitled the ‘Intel Healthcare Innovation Barometer’ found that most people are optimistic about technology innovations advancing healthcare, and are willing to participate in virtual healthcare visits with their doctor. The survey also found they’d be open to using health sensors in their bodies and even their toilets.

From wearable technology or event ingestible technology, to remote monitoring and sensor systems, new technological innovations are key to the future of healthcare.

Fitness and wellness enthusiasts today are pioneering technology and devices that are worn on or embedded into the body. Wearable bracelets are combining technological innovation with fitness in new ways. With these types of devices people can better track their heart rate, perspiration and skin temperature to provide data and insights into how their daily routines are affecting their health and wellness.

In the future, information may be obtained through different wearable or ingestible devices that may help predict changes in the body to prevent emergencies. The information may automatically be shared with healthcare teams for simpler management as well as anonymously pooled with other people’s data to help scientists and researchers find cures and develop more effective medications quicker.

Increasingly people appear to embrace a future of healthcare that will allow them to get care outside of hospital walls, lets them anonymously share their information for a healthier community, better patient outcomes or improved personalized care taking into consideration an individual’s specific genetic makeup.

In fact, sixty-six percent of people surveyed, said they would prefer a personalized healthcare regimen designed specifically for them based on their genetic profile or biology.

Doctors alone can’t cure diseases; new methodologies and analysis techniques are key. Intel has been supporting various genome companies, universities and cancer labs by providing the computing power necessary to solve the problems they are working on.

John Hengeveld, marketing director of high performance computing at Intel uses his real-life example to explain how computer simulations help cure diseases with high-resolution results at lower cost and risk. An appendix attack sent John to surgery and the doctors found that his appendix had burst and spread a material that was extremely rare and when spread can cause cancer. It was thanks to a combination of computing analysis along with doctor and patient collaboration that found an effective treatment that helped John stay as healthy and fit as he is today.

Delivering highly scalable data storage capabilities, Intel is helping healthcare organizations and even individuals evolve with the changing data landscape, equipping institutions with a holistic, digitized big data approach to improve care, discover new insights, reduce costs and meet emerging care models.

Big data analytics is now making it possible for numerous industries to make these discoveries. In the case of healthcare, the biggest discovery in the next few years could be the study of personalized medicine.

Organizations around the world are starting to realize the importance of the role of data on their efforts to improve the healthcare system. In APAC, countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Australia are either considering, planning or already implementing national electronic medical record systems. This data repository will help improve patient safety, inform the discovery of new cures and treatments, and give healthcare providers access to a patient’s complete medical history to aid in their diagnosis and establish the right treatment.

For example, the city of Jinzhou in in the West Liaoning Province of China, with a population of 3.1m, leveraged an Intel Xeon® E5 Processor platform and Intel distribution of Hadoop to successfully build a complete regional medical big data computing architecture at the Jinzhou Regional Health Data Center. The architecture provided a smart health cloud service platform for data processing, retrieval, analysis and other data services to meet Jinzhou’s healthy city goals.

Healthcare is perhaps one of the more unexpected areas in our life where big data is working in invisible ways create exciting transformations to our lives. The possibilities are incredible and the opportunity is huge. If you thought the internet changed the world then it’s time to get really excited about what possibilities ‘big data’ is bringing in our future.