How data science is reshaping healthcare
It’s difficult to imagine a more worthwhile use of data than saving lives - and that’s precisely what companies are doing around the globe through the application of data science. The path ahead is full of advancements, opportunities and challenges for healthcare companies, and this week, we’re taking a deeper look.
How data science is transforming healthcare
We have more medical data available at our fingertips than ever before. You only need to flick your wrist to see real-time information on your heart rate, sleeping pattern and aerobic fitness. But, this data has far further reaching potential than encouraging you to hit 10,000 steps a day - it’s saving lives, adding years and reshaping the healthcare system through:
Monitoring and prevention
The progression and popularity of wearable tech is allowing healthcare professionals to monitor a patient’s health in real-time accurately. Using extracted data from previous cases of disease and illness, patients can be immediately alerted of any warning signs (particularly those that may go unnoticed) and undergo preventative measures. Using data science in this way has the potential to eliminate diseases, increase survival rates and reduce overall costs of treatment.
Data science is also being used to advance research into cures for untreatable or hard to treat illnesses. For example, the analysis of genomic information will eventually allow doctors to match an individual’s gene variation with suitable medication to treat cancers, HIV and other diseases - something that has so far been unachievable by humans alone.
Big data can also be used to increase the functionality of hospitals - reducing costs, increasing productivity and providing patients with better care. Predictive analysis, for example, is being tested to adequately staff shifts, quickly diagnose patients and administer the right care to reduce readmissions.
The challenges of data science and healthcare
Of course, there will be challenges along the way for any tech companies offering medical data science services, tools and solutions. The main obstacles to overcome will be:
There is a vast amount of complex medical data to crunch - all split across different sources and formats. Companies will need experienced data scientists to understand and work with this information in the most efficient way possible, to reduce costs and keep in pace with technological advancements.
The healthcare system is plagued with slow, inaccessible systems that make gaining and sharing this data difficult. Tech companies will need to devise a clear approach to obtaining and sharing the data involved, which may require the involvement of Blockchain specialists.
Medical data is hugely sensitive and, naturally, there are concerns about the security of this information. IT security specialists will be required to protect this data from cyberthieves and accidental exposure.
Healthcare involves making some very difficult and complex decisions; decisions that sometimes go against the science and with the heart. Designers of data analytics tools must take into account the emotion involved in some of these decisions - providing treatment options that don’t necessarily prolong life.
Get in touch
Data science presents an interesting opportunity for healthcare and tech companies to make a real difference to people across the globe. If you’re looking for the right team to help, get in touch with one of our specialist recruiters today.