The next generation of health care can be achieved only with the help of big data. This is mainly done by improving the quality of the service offered by the hospital or health center. However, it is not only big health centers that can improve their services with the aid of big data; many health care services based in the home of the patient can also improve with its help. If the health services provided in the home of the patient are better, then a lot of money can be saved on hospital and medicinal costs.
Therefore, these services are an important part of the overall health care network of an area. Such services actually analyze the patient’s condition and convert it into data. This data can be used for proper diagnosis and proper medication. Thus, these services are an important part in the global process of total eradication of several diseases from the face of the Earth. However, even though the prospects of big data in the world of health care are wide in extent, their use still isn’t realized fully.
Home Health Care – What is it?
Home-based health care services are actually a group of several services which allow the patient to recover at his/her own home without the need to go to a health care center. It is true that some things cannot be done at home, for example a surgery, but effective home treatment can cure many ailments. This is a very well-established concept all over the world, and there are thousands of service providers in this field. However, the need for this service depends upon the severity and the type of illness, which only a doctor can determine.
A home-based health care service provider can offer the following recovery services:
- Nutritional advice
- Proper diet
- Analyzing daily dose intake patterns to successfully administer the patient’s dosage patterns and alert the patient if there is any kind of change in it
- Temperature, respiration, blood pressure and heart rate monitoring
- Sharing information with the patient's personal physician and alerting him/her in emergencies
How Can Big Data Improve the Quality of Home-Based Health Care Services?
The concept of home-based health care services was accepted in the 1960s, and it has seen a steady rate of growth since then. Its growth and development happened in various stages. The information age has been providing ample opportunities for the growth of this industry and big data can fuel its way to being more widely utilized.
Some reasons that big data is useful for the expansion and growth of home-based health care service include:
Most infectious diseases have some patterns according to which they work. This can be illustrated by the example of hay fever and the flu. These illnesses usually occur during a change in weather and temperatures, and they are seasonal too. So, some diseases only become active during special conditions, like in specific seasons, or in special weather conditions like rain, cold and dust. Usually, allergies like asthma occur during dust storms or in polluted places.
Therefore, using the data collected from the patient, doctors could track the specific changes in the pattern and get information about the illness with the help of the symptoms suggested by the data. They can even list out the risk factors and try to prevent them. For example, a good prevention method for an asthma patient would be the use of a mask while driving in an area polluted by smoke and exhaust. This is a very important part of diagnosis and many diseases can be diagnosed and prevented in this way. This can be even done on a large scale, where an organization will collect essential information about the disease from the patient and will notify the health care officials of the area about the disease’s symptoms and prevention methods, who in turn can notify the people about this, deploy certain safeguards and take appropriate measures.
Keeping the Disease in Check
Big data can be used by home-based health care providers to assess their patients' information. This can avoid many dangerous situations by notifying the doctor before it gets out of hand. Home-based health care providers can even use big data to analyze the patient’s condition and capacity to manage a certain illness. Many health care providers scan different online activities of their patients' to gather information for proper detection of diseases. This can even allow them to determine the vitality of the patient and their nearness to a major health issue. By analyzing this data, they’ll be able to decide the best steps to avert this situation.
With the advent of home health care service based on big data, many patients can effectively avoid the need to go to the clinic or be hospitalized. Many healthcare organizations have even surveyed patients to determine the importance of big data in home health care services, and they found that it was really successful in preventing hospitalizations and other emergencies. In this survey, they actually collected the data of their patients to analyze their patterns and estimated the number of those patients who were susceptible to hospitalizations in the future. After that, they gave all of the vulnerable patients a specially tailored home-based health care service. They noticed that the patients actually hospitalized were 50% of the people estimated. This shows the importance of big-data-based home health care services for unstable patients.
How Can Home Health Care Providers Use Big Data?
Health care providers can utilize big data only when they have certain skills and technology. Also, in order to handle the large amount of data, they’ll have to collect it before starting the program. There’s also the need to analyze the data in order to find patterns or suggest preventive measures.
The use of big data in the home-based health care industry is an emerging trend. Different industry leaders are trying to introduce revolutionary products which will supplement general health care systems and processes. The combination of health care-based Internet of Things (IoT) devices and the data collected through these devices is making a big impact on the home health care. Patients are no longer required to physically visit health facilities for all their health needs; rather they can do most of the procedures through home-based health care procedures and systems.
Though it seems that the integration of big data and home health care services have a bright future ahead, there are sure to be many obstacles in the journey. First, there will be some technological hurdles. Then, some monetary problems will arise. But eventually, in the long run they’ll become successful, though this will still take some time.