The big data revolution is here, on an aggressive growth path, and the patient might truly be the biggest beneficiary of next wave. But hey! Where is that data?

1. More than 65% of data across the globe stay non-digitized.

2. 68% of digitized data isn’t integrated with channels or inter-operable systems.

3. 99% problem in delivering effective healthcare is in bad data, old data and No data.

3824227The health care system is filled with dreamers, from compassionate nurses and doctors to technology experts, researchers in the lab to people like us- mHealth experts. After careful evaluation of facts, we have arrived at this hypothesis:

The need to fully engage patients as a member of the care team is fundamentally about encouraging individuals to become more involved with their healthcare, so they will be motivated to make behavioural changes that can positively impact their health status. Today we do it in 3 ways:

1. Public health programs– where we don’t spend much on pervasive technologies but paper, photocopies, fuel, per diem (per day) of health workers and volunteers.

2. Disease management/Wellness programs– where a patient buys self-help health check-ups like “a dress from” based on prize and tests that he has heard off or just go for a master health check-up .

Or a Hospitals that puts a Diabetes patient on to a DM program which means 3 visits/month on to a clinic for repeat diagnostic tests, doctor consultation, Diet plan and exercise regimen. 90% patients show non-compliance here and the churn is more than 70%. All the data of-course will stay with the hospital and they will never share it with other Doctor or hospital.

3. By downloading an app, signing on to a health portal or designing a regular and timely healthcare plan and stick to it. (Surprisingly 23% people do manage their health like this). The problem is that it is very hard to track, monitor or quantify success or deterioration in the absence of proper matrices and without a Doctor’s help at the other end.

If my healthcare data doesn’t reside in a cloud, what will BIG Data analytics do for me?

I am unlike Retail, Banking, Advertising or any other vertical where there is loads of digital data. In Healthcare, there is very little data.

2ab62ddAny phase in the evolution of patient care cannot take place without sharing secure data with a wider group of constituents in the healthcare continuum. The need of the hour hence is:

1. Data Collection:There is a need to up the public health game by efficient data collection. Episurveyor—>Magpi (DataDyne), Commcare, Formville, Cellife are some examples of such applications that exist today. Using a cell-phone to complete questions allows for information to be analysed in real time, built in skip logic, and the capturing of other media not possible on a paper form.

2. Provider + Government + Health Insurance Push- Obviously you can’t do much about 60% population of India where either there is no computer or no literacy. The need of the hour is to build healthcare models on ubiquitous technologies be it mobile phones, radio, community broadband centres, Zila panchayats, Schools, UID Kendra or areas where there can be a patient dashboard available. In the USA, with strong meaningful use process, organizations are required to offer patients online access to their electronic medical information.

22b3b3bTo meet the MU2 requirements in the US, a provider must notify at least 50% of its patients of online access to medical records. In addition, the provider must have more than 5% of its patients view, download or transmit their health information as well as another 5% of patients send a secure electronic message to the provider organization. They do this via an online Patient Portal. Not only is the Patient Portal functionality a requirement for meeting MU2, but it extends a tremendous number of additional opportunities for the patient and provider.

With support of the provider, patients can use a computer or mobile device to schedule their own appointments, pre-register, select payment plans, share lab results, and of course, view their medical information. Each of these functions helps the patient become more involved in their care while eliminating costs associated with scheduling, sharing results and records, eligibility verification, collections and prescription renewal functions.

3. Attaching Data to Channels and Analytics– As per CHMI data every year we run more than 100+ technology driven healthcare programs in India (50+ of them are mHealth programs). Most of them show success and impact but fail to scale as funding or Government support run out. The data as well as the effort goes waste.

There is a need to connect redundant systems with appropriate channels, knowledge blocks and derive influence out of these. While the availability of Mobile apps, patient portals and digitisation of health records does not necessarily translate into active provider or patient use, the technology is emerging as the key platform for various efforts around patient engagement such as access to medical records, communication with providers, education, wellness tracking and e-visits.

We need a system that will incorporate registration of births, deaths and cause of death. Maternal and infant death reviews, nutrition surveillance, particularly among under-six children and women, service delivery in the public and private health system, hospital information services besides improving access of public to their own health information and medical records.

Big Data analytics can clearly provide—>Great Insights (i.e. trends, impact, markers and analysis)——> A clear Business objective———–>Change management——>Good project management—–>Desired quality and results? (this one is debatable!)

The Big Data Success story (Prospective):

In the United States, the independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield were planning to provide healthcare financing for almost one in three citizens. But accurate research data is critical to providing effective treatment, improving outcomes and helping reduce spiralling costs.


Blue Cross and Blue Shield faced the challenge of creating the world’s largest healthcare informatics data warehouse to enhance benchmarking capabilities and enable advanced predictive analytics.

Blue Health Intelligence

A renowned IT company designed, developed and implemented a system, dubbed Blue Health Intelligence that would integrate data from up to 40 member companies. They built an overall architectural design incorporating “continuous certification,” providing the most comprehensive source of accurate healthcare research data to be found anywhere.This company is CSC.

Warehouse Is Key

The data warehouse is key to the Blue Health Intelligence’s overall 10-year strategic plan. No other consortia-based analysis tool exists at this scale: The warehouse is capable of processing medical and other types of claims for 90 to 100 million people, while providing the client with huge competitive advantage. Recognized by both BHI and industry as a one-of-a-kind solution, the BHI data warehouse will lead to greater healthcare transparency by delivering unmatched detail about trends and best practices.

This certainly sounds good! Big data analytics help have a direct dialogue with consumers, provide tailored healthcare, perform surveillance and risk analysis, reduce maintenance costs, offer population wise and enterprise- wise insights and customize offerings in real-time.

Comments welcome.

Health Information Security and Privacy Collaboration (HISPC).
Meaningful use american recovery and reinvestment act,
Privacy and security guide,, The Office of the National coordinator for Health Information technology
CSC corporation, Blue shield, Blue Cross, Predixion software,
DataDyne presentation by Joel Selanikio; Dan Stoke, Vice President of Client Sales and Service, Intellect Resources
A Health Care Provider’s Guide to the HIPAA Privacy Rule: Communicating with a Patient’s Family, Friends, or Others involved in the Patient’s Care.
Andrew Gill, UK retailer Waitrose takes a different approach to in-store loyalty cards & big data
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