The potential impact of big data on patient health

There’s no question big data can help healthcare organizations with their bottom line, but can it help make patients healthier? Carla Curtsinger shares some good news about big data and prevention.

There’s no question big data can help businesses improve their bottom line and target new customers. Many companies give more attention to the cost savings aspect, and in the healthcare industry, that may also seem big data’s most logical use.

Providers already use data to decide everything from which services to cover to premium costs, patients’ out of pocket expenses to referrals.

But can big data help make patients healthier?

According to an article on, big data is doing just that, as it helps “predict epidemics, cure disease, improve quality of life and avoid preventable deaths.”

Mobile technology like smartphone apps and wearables allow you to make healthier lifestyle choices, track your progress, and then upload your data for history and comparison with others. In the near future, your physician will be able to access that data and use it as part of their ‘diagnostic toolbox’ when you have an exam.

Big data as that extra ‘ounce of prevention’ could have far-reaching effects, as preventable chronic diseases are now the most common cause of premature death.

Patients who make use of the increasingly popular telemedicine and telehealth services will also leave a ‘data trail,’ which can be used on a larger scale to analyze trends in overall population health.

As healthcare costs continue to increase, and older Americans make up a growing percentage of the population, the ability to capitalize on big will become an increasing priority for patient health.


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