How is big data improving health care?

Thanks to big data, consumers and their health care providers have access to an enormous amount of information. Just like other sectors, the analysis of this data and actionable insights are driving innovation in healthcare. In particular, the end users are seeing a tremendous benefit thanks to this wealth of knowledge. As the amount of available data increases, the quality of care and overall transparency increases as well. 

Patients are more informed
The sheer amount of data is leading to new levels of transparency in health care. Thanks to innovative products like wearable devices that harness health data in real-time, users and their health care providers have access to important information. Informed doctors make better decisions for the patient, and informed patients have a better understanding of how treatments affect them. 

"Pharmaceutical companies are using digital health insights to develop innovative new products."

Health care is more customized
Rachel Nielsen of the Puget Sound Business Insider wrote that "data also can take the form of personal wellness plans tailored to the individual based on his genome sequencing, self-tracking with a Fitbit wearable device and blood, stool and saliva samples." Given individuals' diverse backgrounds and many mitigating factors, most treatments are not one-size-fits-all. Digital health improves treatments because the experts have access to more relevant information, allowing them to tailor their recommendations to the individual's needs. 

Pharmaceutical companies are investing in digital health
According to Mobi Health News, pharmaceutical companies such as GlaxoSmithKline are using digital health insights to develop innovative new products and solutions for consumers. These companies are partnering with technology providers to make breakthrough medical products. For instance, Partners Health care and Daichii-Sankyo have teamed up to develop a wearable monitoring device and a mobile app that go along with anticoagulation medicine. The app and device provide personalized feedback for the patient and also allows the doctor to send feedback. 

Treatments are more cost-effective
Mpirica, a health analytics firm, gathers data from Medicare, hospitals, insurance companies and other sources so employers can see which doctors are better performers than others. By identifying the high performers and avoiding the poor performers, employers can keep costs low for their employees while making sure they receive the highest quality of care. 

Nancy Giunto, executive director of the Washington Health Alliance, told Nielsen, "We believe that you can't improve what you can't measure." Efficacy allows for substantial advances in the ways clinics assess, diagnose and treat ailments. Thanks to big data and the many digital health breakthroughs, there is more information to measure, and more opportunities for improvement in the health care field. 

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