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healthcare big data

by Bill Goodwin

The Outlook for Healthcare Big Data in 2017: Integrating Data for Business Decision Making

Big data has held big promise for healthcare for some time now. However, healthcare leaders continue to struggle with fully integrating healthcare big data into clinical and business decision making in ways that positively impact patient care and their bottom lines.

So, what does 2017 hold for healthcare big data and using big data in hospitals? We don’t have a crystal ball, of course, but given what we’ve seen in our work in healthcare data analytics, in our conversations with our clients who work with data regularly and in keeping up on the latest predictions, here are some thoughts.

Closing Data Silos
I recently read a blog by Forrester’s Kate McCarthy where, not surprisingly, she predicts in 2017 that payers and providers will need to integrate unstructured data to gain patient and customer insight. She notes health clouds as a tool for providers to utilize.

We see the challenge of integrating huge amounts of healthcare big data from doctors’ offices, hospitals, labs, clinics and claims data regularly. Of course, the nation’s large healthcare systems have already created internal health information exchanges for their own data to provide access to one set of records across the healthcare system. Examples include Kaiser Permanente’s Health Connect and Pittsburgh Health’s Data Alliance. Integrating data across systems outside of their own and integrating clinical data with business intelligence data will be the next big step for many larger healthcare systems in 2017, while others will remain focused on connecting their internal data silos.

Data and Consumer Marketing
In 2015, the percent of insurance business served by group contracts dropped by 48 percent, an indicator that healthcare payers and providers will likely continue shifting to other models including increased growth in business-to-consumer (B2C) models. Insights from big data can be used to tailor and personalize patient experiences within the healthcare system. Healthcare will continue to implement strategies informed by data from the world of B2C marketing.

Data & Clinical Care
Obamacare outcome mandates around things like hospital readmissions have prompted healthcare systems to leverage healthcare big data to tackle the challenges that impact healthcare costs and quality the most. 2017 will see an increased use of big data for prevention, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care. Big data will also play a major role in personalized medicine as a treatment option.

Patient-Collected Data

It is predicted that by 2020, 40 percent of employees can cut their healthcare costs by wearing a fitness tracker. As the technology of wearables evolves, integration of patient-generated and collected data will begin to play a greater role in employee benefits and insurance plans as well as informing clinical care. On the heels of fitness trackers like Fitbit, Jawbone and others, now come the next wave of devices focused on chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. These tools offer more promise for integrating patient-collected data with clinical data for monitoring and delivering care.

Evolving Role of the CIO
We don’t envy the role of the hospital CIO, as it’s a challenging job in today’s complex healthcare landscape. The role of healthcare CIO will continue to be one of working cross-functionally within the healthcare organization. CIOs will need to continue to challenge how things have always been done and use data in new and innovative ways in the rapidly transforming healthcare market.

Summary
As we head into a New Year, we look forward to seeing how big data will evolve healthcare. Regardless of what happens, we know big data will continue to play an increasing role in the delivery of care and in the business decisions that are made within healthcare organizations.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on how big data will impact healthcare in 2017. Please share your comments!

Bill Goodwin, MBA is CEO of INTELLIMED, a healthcare data analytics company based in Phoenix, Arizona.

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The Outlook for Healthcare Big Data in 2017: Integrating Data for Business Decision Making