Digital for all now

Healthcare : is Big Data ushering in a brave new world ?

Econocom 4 Nov 2014

Big Data, those huge volumes of data which are produced and analysed in real time by the most powerful digital equipment, promises great things for the healthcare sector. Stored in the cloud, it could be used to predict patient’s future health, map outbreaks of diseases, even prevent epidemics. More mundane examples of the benefits of Big Data in healthcare which have recently been successfully illustrated in the US include cutting costs through patient fraud and risk detection. But remember: “with great power comes great responsibility!”

 

It is now commonplace for organisations to collect huge volumes of data, and yet very few have hardware and software that is powerful or secure enough to process the “new oil”.
Pro BTP, a company that provides health and life insurance for the construction industry, is one of these: it has implemented a system that qualifies requests in real time and decides how to process them. The purpose of this initiative is to cut costs through pre-emptive fraud detection, and the organisation has estimated it could generate cost savings of up to €14 million in refunds for optical and dental care alone.

 

$210 MILLION SAVED IN THE US: HOW BIG DATA COULD REDUCE THE HEALTHCARE BUDGET DEFICIT

 

This is a major consideration in light of the current bill on healthcare funding: in the United States, some $210 million could be saved using Big Data to prevent social security fraud.
But beyond the purely economic aspect, the potential of Big Data for public healthcare is such that there is a growing demand for open access to public healthcare. However promising this may sound, a great deal of precaution is required.

 

WHERE HEALTHCARE IS CONCERNED, DATA SECURITY SHOULD BE AN OBSESSION

The security issues associated with data in such a sensitive area as healthcare are huge: the cloud in which data is collected and processed needs to be absolutely watertight. And while access to data on consumption of medications could, for example, help identify overconsumption or high-risk prescriptions, there is of course the considerable risk that this information could fall into the wrong hands.

Healthcare information should only be digitised with partners with a proven track record of reliability. This is one of the principles of our partnerships with hospitals: the sharing of sensitive data is subject to a set of strict, rigorously protected rules.

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