Whether you hate it or love it, you just can’t get enough of Tony Stark a.k.a   ‘Iron Man’ – genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist and of-course an admirable superhero. Can big data play the role of iron man in healthcare industry i.e. unlock insights and enable an analytic enterprise? In recent times, healthcare and life-sciences industry is increasingly focusing on implementing superior business decisions while driving better care outcomes. The influx of data from electronic medical records, medical devices and mobile technologies provides the much needed intelligence to make this a successful quest.

iron-manBig Data has application for both healthcare providers and payers.  Providers, which are loaded with unstructured data in the form of scanned documents, images etc. can use big data solutions to integrate it with the structured data enabling process modifications, identification of associated risk factors, comparison of images for various treatment procedures & research and hence improve the overall quality of care. Payers, whether private or government, want to convert claims data into insights for fraud detection and patient compliance. Big Data solutions not only provide integration of claims and procedure data but also facilitate integration of high volume of different varieties and sources of data. However, organizations need to keep in mind the issue of data security and privacy while implementing big data solutions.

IBM Watson has been creating ripples of transformation in the healthcare industry from the last few years. It has collaborated with leading providers and medical institutes around the globe to prove more personalized care and hence increase healthcare outcomes and reduce costs. In the coming years technologies such as IBM Watson will have a significant role in solving healthcare issues for developing countries as well.

A recent example is the recently announced IBM Watson partnership with Bangalore, India based Manipal Group of Hospitals. Watson technology will reveal insights that would help oncologists provide cancer patients with individualized, evidence based cancer care across India where deficient healthcare infrastructure and accessibility is a serious issue. Partnerships like these can immensely help in easing healthcare concerns for population.

A long way to go, but big data and analytics can certainly be the ammunition required to tackle the villains associated with providing efficient healthcare.

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