Writing for Psych Central, experimental researcher Jamie Hale, M.S., defines research and scientific discovery as the process by which professionals describe, predict, and understand observable data. In the health care industry, the latter two goals can save lives. The rise of big data has encouraged informaticists to make increasingly large quantities of data available to the public as well as to the government and to medical professionals. Learn how health care data access benefits these groups and how informaticists are making a difference.
Patients Take a Proactive Approach to Their Own Health Care
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According to the Journal of Medical Internet Research, a pilot program called My HealtheVet ran from 2000 to 2010 and included 7,464 patients. The program provided those patients with access to their medical records online, and the responses revealed that most patients experienced overwhelmingly positive benefits from the information.
The program’s findings cited improved self-care, enhanced quality of care, and better communication between health care providers and patients as examples of the benefits. When patients can access their own health care data as well as statistics about others’ experiences, they can make more informed decisions about their own medical care.
Doctors Gain Access to Critical Information in Real Time
It’s possible that doctors can gain even more advantages from health data access than their patients can. According to the Washington Post, many primary care physicians see patients at 11- to 15-minute intervals. With such a rapid speed of service, doctors must rely on quick access to medical records, research, and data to diagnose and treat their patients.
Today’s students who are studying health informatics can help transform health data access and usage within their organizations and their communities. For example, the New Haven Register reports that doctors and their patients are taking advantage of wearable tech to extrapolate data about symptoms and conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Clinical Trials Become Increasingly Accurate and Accessible
In addition to patients and doctors, clinical trial participants and administrators can also benefit from better access to health data. Administrators can mine public health records to find appropriate subjects, and researchers can view real-time data while overseeing the trials, according to Alvaro Arjona, writing for Thomson Reuters.
Arjona also points out that big data can help clinical trials move faster because administrators don’t have to calculate results by hand or wait for data to become available. Drugs will hit the market faster and start benefiting patients sooner.
Informaticists Can Help Expand Big Data Usage
Health care informatics graduates and professionals are making tremendous contributions to the industry. In the government, for instance, organizations like the CDC are creating open data policies and procedures to make health care data more accessible.
Hospitals and other health care providers are also taking advantage of big data and seeking new ways to make data safer. For instance, Heather Landi of Health Care Informatics magazine reports that Bethesda Hospital is using biometric identification technology to secure patient data while still making it accessible.
As health data becomes more available to doctors, patients, and health care professionals, each member of the health care ecosystem benefits.