It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that the world is changing. Technology is making our lives easier, altering everything from the way we grocery shop to the way we drive our cars. The introduction of Big Data has taken the world by storm, and we are only just beginning to see the ways in which it can change healthcare for individuals.
But what can Big Data do for the population as a whole?
The rising cost of healthcare has been in the news lately. Insurance costs and the costs of Medicare and Medicaid are skyrocketing as insurers struggle to keep up with the rising demands. Data analytics is making strides towards lowering the cost of healthcare by reducing hospital readmissions and helping to treat chronic disease. Lowering costs benefits everyone from consumers to the government, leading to better access to healthcare for everyone.
In 1854, a London physician named John Snow discovered that the cholera epidemic affecting certain areas of the city was caused by contaminated water from a water pump. He had to carefully map every outbreak by hand in order to distill the cause of the epidemic.
Today, with the help of Big Data, this process would be infinitely faster and even more accurate, saving lives, money, and time. Big Data is helping to identify trends affecting public health, allowing public health officials to take quick steps to remedy the situation. Recently, the coronavirus has gotten attention as it has rapidly spread around the world. Data analytics are already being used to predict outbreaks and implement action plans to minimize the disease.
Predicting and Preventing Addiction
Addiction is being recognized as a public health concern because of the way the disease affects individuals and families. Big Data has begun being used to help recognize the risk factors for opioid addiction, and take steps to intervene before the addiction gets too far.
Precision Public Health
Precision health has received attention lately as healthcare professionals and consumers are discovering that a one-size-fits-all approach is no longer viable. But Big Data is being used to provide precision health to pockets of communities by recognizing disparities in policy implementation and delivery of services.
The value of Big Data in the public health arena can not be overstated. We have only begun to scratch the surface of possibilities when we combine the data with the ability to quickly comb through it and recognize trends.
Public Health is an area where sweeping reforms can have a large impact on the population as a whole. Big Data researchers will continue to gather more information and utilize health records more effectively, offering the world better insight into community health and disease trends. As more data is gathered and analyzed, the value of an mph degree in designing and implementing these reforms can not be overstated. Public Health officials have the important job of keeping the world safe from diseases, and Big Data can help them do it.