Big data can be used to help prevent diseases
Dubai - Big data are large data sets that are analysed to reveal patterns, trends, behaviours and interactions.
The future and game-changer in the healthcare sector is in the big data and everyone in the industry - from the government to private hospitals, medical professionals and the patients themselves - must embrace the change to capture its full potential, an official from a leading technology company said at Arab Health.
"Healthcare is more about prevention of disease; the longer you wait until you discover the disease, the more adverse the effect on the patient and it will be more costly on the government and even insurance companies. So, how can we make prevention more effective? By employing big data analytics," David Mezher, general manager of GE Healthcare Middle East, told Khaleej Times.
"In delivering healthcare, hospitals must be quick to diagnose and treat; must be efficient in disease management and patient pathways, and rely on a digital information management system to support patient care. That is the opportunity that the region's healthcare sector has today," he added.
Mezher noted that healthcare market in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries is projected to grow from $40.3 billion in 2015 to S$71.3 billion in 2020, driven by an increase in the population and the rising cost of treatment.
"While private sector investments can help reduce the burden of costs on governments, a sustainable model of healthcare delivery that can assure better patient outcomes, must consider the entire healthcare ecosystem including the development of a superior and modern healthcare infrastructure," he said.
This healthcare infrastructure is anchored on big data analytics that will drive sustainable healthcare development, Mezher underlined.
Mezher noted that the UAE government is in the initial stage of creating a unified medical record but the digital transformation should be created also at the grassroots or patients' level.
"There has to be a cultural change," Mezher said. "Some people don't feel comfortable when they are being treated remotely. But according to some studies, 60 per cent of medical cases can be attended to by doctors remotely (through Skype or video conferencing). They can prescribe medicines just by analysing information even without meeting the patient face to face."
Mezher said the digital transformation will be expensive at the initial stage but in the long run it will reduce the cost as patient information will be readily available and doctors can proactively identify individuals who would benefit from preventative care or lifestyle changes.
What is Big data?
Big data are large data sets that are analysed to reveal patterns, trends, behaviours and interactions.
By collecting and analysing big data, trends and lifestyles can be predicted. The more the information is digitised, the more you have insights, which can be used to prevent diseases and improve the delivery of health care.