The value of healthcare data and applications


It is no secret that the availability of a relevant amount of data enables the companies to take better decisions. More information enables the companies to improve profits and cut down expenses, design better strategies and reach more costumers all at the same time. Thanks to the technology advancements in the last decade, we were able to generate and collect huge amount of data and our ability to analyze and understand it also increased.

This is true for every kind of business and healthcare is no difference. But what is making this industry particularly relevant for the use of information, especially during these days?

Differently from many other businesses, the only way to generate relevant medical information has always been using expensive specialized equipment and the support of trained staff. The high degree of specificity in the diagnosis and the lack of data sharing among the different facilities prevented for many years the generation of information that was useful not just to cut internal costs, but also to increase the effectiveness of the treatments. Additionally, this also meant that this pool of data was only available to hospitals, medical structures and professionals in the sector, making impossible for a single individual to assess its personal health status.

But now the landscape is changing: the advancements in technology are now overcoming these highlighted limits. Specifically, the new generation of smartphones now allows its users to obtain basic information on their health without the need to access specialized medical structures.

What we can see it is not just an improvement in the user’ service, but a giant opportunity for external companies to access relevant information and develop new profitable applications for the market. It is possible to forecast that in the next few years the availability of medical data will raise dramatically and will be accessible to the general public, allowing also new companies to step-in the healthcare business.

More data, better treatments, easier prevention, but also a huge opportunity and a new market that is being unlocked.

Still some major problems remain before this new trend takes over. Most notable is the security of these personal data and small companies will have a harder time in protecting this information, due to the lack of structures and knowledge. Additionally, since this technology is just at its beginning, the kind of diagnoses that an individual will be able to do by its own are very limited in reliability, complexity and data generated.

As a final consideration, we should also take account of the legal constraints biding this new technology: if the data generated by personal devices will not be recognized as a solid instrument to provide treatments, then it will likely happen that governments will not grant it the status of proper and reliable diagnoses. This means that this technology will be regarded more as a personal tool than a proper medical device able to substitute medics and hospitals.

References.

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/411225/the-future-of-health-care/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2015/04/21/how-big-data-is-changing-healthcare/

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