Modern Health Care and Big Data
11 January 2018
If there’s one thing that technology and health care experts agree on, it’s the huge impact that digital technology is having on the global health care industry. According to the 2017 Cigna 360° Wellbeing Research, 78% believe the use of digital technology in health care has the potential to bring good health to more people.
Smart Devices and Smart Data Collection
The health industry is already developing mechanisms for collecting and sharing Big Data from around the world. As well as tracking their own health, people can also help researchers gather large amounts of data on global health issues. Apple’s Researchkit and Carekit use open software platforms to enable large-scale studies on major diseases and conditions such as diabetes, hepatitis C, autism and even concussion.
Big Data and analytics will be able to provide deeper insights into health and treatments on both an industry and personal level. We can expect this to lead to more transparency in care and cost management. Health care providers, patients and health insurers will benefit enormously from these developments because they will support more specialised products and reduce costs for end consumers.
Impacting the Health Insurance Business
Health service providers and benefit companies, like Cigna, are investing heavily in state-of-the-art technology solutions to prepare for the future. We’re using digital technology to improve consumer experience by simplifying the buying process and making it easier for consumers to select the right product. Big Data analytics can also help streamline the efficiency of health benefits claims by revealing claim trends and streamlining claims processing. Patients get better returns on their insurance claims, and care givers receive payment faster. Future investment in blockchain technology should create an even more accurate and resilient record keeping industry.
Our research reveals some welcome findings. Despite the current climate around data privacy, globally 45% are willing to share health data with third parties for the good of all, especially with:
- doctors (59%),
- a national health database (49%), and
- global bodies such as the World Health Organization (47%).
Over a third would trust Insurance companies (35%). We treasure this trust, which is why Cigna has strict safeguards and compliance protocols to protect access and use of data.
Power to the People
With new technologies like these come new opportunities for our health and care system:
- improving the accuracy and usefulness of information we can gather on our health as citizens and patients;
- changing how and where care is delivered; and
- offering new ways to prevent, predict, detect and treat illness.
And on top of these exciting technologies, we’re seeing amazing support networks spring up online, supporting those that may otherwise feel alone at their most vulnerable time.
But we also need to be sure to address the challenges. For example, how to ensure universal access to the advantages of digital technology; how to encourage uptake of new care methods; how to deal with the huge volume of health information these technologies can generate and ensure we maintain individual privacy.
1. Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Musculoskeletal Disorders. http://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/. Accessed 12 September 2017.
2. Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorder Statistics, Great Britain 2016. http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/musculoskeletal/msd.pdf. Accessed 11 September 17.
3. Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Preventing back pain - What can I do to help protect workers? http://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/backpain/employers/preventing.htm. Accessed 12 September 2017.
4. National Health Service (NHS). Back pain at work. 2016. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/workplacehealth/Pages/backpainatwork.aspx. Accessed 12 September 2017.
5. Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Ergonomics and human factors at work. 2013. http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg90.pdf. Accessed 12 September 2017.