It’s not always possible to know exactly what the future holds, especially in a quickly changing industry like healthcare. Case in point: Few 2019 predictions factored in the far-reaching effects of the coronavirus pandemic on U.S. healthcare systems — like the exploding demand for acute care that “has overtaxed some hospitals” and affected demand/availability for routine care, according to one M.D. for the New England Journal of Medicine.
While we don’t have a crystal ball telling us precisely what will occur in 2021 and beyond, we can make some educated guesses based on expert predictions and emerging trends — especially when it comes to the rapidly expanding world of data analytics in medicine.
Here are just a handful of medical data analytics trends to expect in 2021 and beyond.
Quick Adoption of Tech-Driven Healthcare
Tech-driven healthcare was already coming down the pipeline — just ask anyone who’s used a wearable device for medical purposes or opted for a telehealth appointment with their provider rather than physically visiting the office.
However, the rapid onset of changes related to COVID-19 has and will continue to serve to accelerate the adoption of tech-driven healthcare. As the Mayo Clinic’s Platform president told Becker’s Health IT, some of the ways in which these changes will manifest include:
- Growing demand for telemedicine
- Growing need for hospital-grade care in home
- Proliferation of wearable medical devices
- Increasing ability to use machine learning and artificial intelligence analytics to influence care plans
Increased Prioritization of Data Privacy
Self-service medical data analytics platforms have advanced in leaps and bounds — allowing both clinicians and administrators to better understand patients/populations and act on insights to bolster care outcomes while reducing wastage and unnecessary costs. supply levels, increasing insurance claim approvals, smoothing out exam room turnover and much more.
However, any healthcare data analytics system and the vast stores of information contained within it is only as beneficial as it is private and secure. On one hand, the shift toward tech-driven healthcare is creating more available data that providers can analyze and incorporate into decision-making. On the other hand, the increasing amount of data available within these systems means there’s a growing need to prioritize absolute safety of sensitive information above all else.
As MedCity News cites, the average cost of a compromised record in the healthcare industry is $429 — almost twice as costly as the next industry in line. Breaches can easily cost millions of dollars each, not to mention damage public trust and reputation for years to come. This is precisely why all eyes will be on privacy moving forward, with data analytics governance taking a front-seat in this regard.
Healthcare systems need to anticipate risks from internal and external threats —these include individual user access permissions as well as malicious hacks from third-parties.
Optimizing Clinical Research Trials
Coronavirus also brought the issue of clinical trials into the public eye — particularly the need to balance facilitating speedy trials on life-changing drugs with ensuring the safety of recipients.
Data analytics is revolutionizing clinical trials by bringing down the cost and length of time needed to do research. Here are a few examples of how this looks in action:
- Researchers seeking participants can spot patients with specific conditions and identify the most effective recruiting channels.
- Administrators can use data to make clinical trials more efficient at a structural level.
- Clinicians can quickly analyze large volumes of cohort data to understand results and side effects.
Case in point: One Fortune 500 pharmaceutical firm was able to give researchers access to drug trial insights within three minutes, whereas reporting previously took three months using analytics powered by ThoughtSpot.
Medical data analytics, particularly those powered by AI, will only continue to rise to the forefront of how healthcare works today — in terms of clinical research and patient outcomes in particular. The corresponding challenge, of course, will be safeguarding said data every step of the way.