Healthcare usually means problem-solution for most people. Have a medical problem? Visit the hospital/doctor and get it taken care of. The intervention, solution and even the follow-up, all are in a short term, say, a few months at maximum.
However, it is universally agreed upon by Healthcare professionals and patients alike that the focus of Healthcare should be on prevention rather than cure. Investing in continuous, preventive health can actually reduce the individual’s spend on expensive treatments.
However, preventive health requires in changing patient behavior. Many patient behavioral patterns indicate a strong correlation with developing illnesses later in life. Early prediction and investment in changing these damaging behaviors could spare them of irreversible sickness in the future.
What do we need for a building a prevention-focused Healthcare system?
Streams of continuous patient demographic, behavior and health data – The health records available with healthcare providers and insurers only contains treatment details. They contain bare bones demographic data such as age and gender. This data needs to be analyzed in conjunction with behavior data to derive meaningful insights.
Behaviors such as lack of activity, self-driven anxiety, smoking, drinking, recreational drug use, overeating, hydration etc. lead to patterns which can act well in advance as warning signals that illness triggers are in range. This behavioral data should not just be limited to behavioral actions but also emotional behaviors. Reporting of moods, for example, can help advance prediction of depression and anxiety disorders.
The global wearable market for medical use is 13 billion USD, as of 2016. This is fast set to double by 2021, according to some industry forecasts. This is because of the dual push to this sector. The Healthcare industry has realized that the next level of medical breakthroughs can only happen if behavioural data flows in a continuous stream from the patients. The patients themselves are more willing to use wearable technology and share their physiological as well as behavioural data.
Robust healthcare analytics – The next level of insights can only be unlocked using Big Data Analytics. Making possible dealing with the continuous data streams of patients, deriving insights at individual and collective level is only possible if there is a robust analytics system powering it.
IoT (Internet of Things) which is a powerful buzzword, especially in Healthcare can also be utilized to full potential only when used in conjunction with Big Data Analytics. An IoT hooked up healthcare system can reduce human error, deliver precision treatments and make remote treatment and continuous patient support accessible.
Overhaul of the insurance mindset – The term health insurance is a misnomer in that it is actually sickness insurance. Health insurance providers need to redefine plans so as to provide access to continuous, preventive health focused support.
Overhaul of the healthcare systems – The healthcare system as we know it needs a complete overhaul. If healthcare professionals could monitor their patient’s behavioral data and receive relevant insights, it can enable them to provide timely intervention and support. This can reduce actual hospital visits and treatment costs for the patient as well reduce the workload on the healthcare system as a whole.
Change, not Cure, is the new buzzword
The next level of medical breakthroughs will be led by predictive analytics which will ensure that patients change their damaging behavior well before they have pay the price with their health, wellness and wallets.