By Julia Meisterknecht, Paul Schumacher, Amalien Meyer, and Veronica Loskutova
WHY USE BIG DATA?
- Healthcare is very costly; using big data can reduce costs
- Standard practice in healthcare is moving away from the subjective (individual doctor assessments) to the objective and measurable (data collected)
- Incentives are growing for healthcare practitioners to use EHR (electronic health records)
- New technologies are rapidly developing (e.g., sensors); human knowledge is also increasing over time
- Data collection, especially genomic data, is becoming cheaper and cheaper
Goals of big data use:
- Take advantage of data to improve patient outcomes (right intervention at the right time to the right people)
- Lower costs
- Achieve more personalized care
- Integrate all aspects of the healthcare system
Overall goal: Can we use data about the past to enhance the future?
HOW IS IT USED?
STARTUPS: In the last few years, people have tried to advance the process of big data usage in healthcare by themselves. Startup companies were founded to measure, control and even increase the performance of the human body (big data + community = artificial intelligence):
CROWD SOLUTIONS: “Using the crowd as a doctor”
Due to decreasing confidence in professional medical employees and increasing social media use people can share their personal experiences in medical treatment or hospitals and even provide their own diagnoses of people’s diseases.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES?
- Diversity and variety of data sources: genomic data, clinical data, behavior data
- Unstructured data: e.g. Notes about patient or diaries are not in the same style:
combining data from different patients is not possible even if they have the same meaning
- Efficient analyzation of large volumes of raw data
–> Lack of knowledge
- Complexity of analyzing genomic data with sophisticated computation and combining them with clinical data
- Capturing changes of patients behavior and conditions in different environments e.g. home or hospital
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
- Possible breach of personal data (hacking or misuse)
- “Gray area” of patient confidentiality
- Individual Risk Score in health insurance will have more information about their members
- Possible patient discrimination for insurance (insurance companies might not cover you due to liability)
- Strangers might be able to track your whereabouts using your health sensor
ARE THE BENEFITS WORTH THE RISKS?