The revolution of Big Data in Healthcare is on the way.

Many countries around the world are sitting on vast records of patient data, which, if used correctly, could provide the key to future disease prevention and eradication.
Advances in genetics and biotechnology have been astounding over the past 10-15 years and if the analytical possibilities of Big Data develop at anything like the same pace, we will be in for a healthcare revolution over the next few decades.

That is if the patients don’t get in the way. There is considerable suspicion at the moment about information security, and many of the public are nervous about having their private health records in the semi-public domain. This seems fairly narrow-minded, and with the right PR push, the benefits for society are too great to be ignored.
Our ability to anticipate and treat illnesses will be improved. Epidemics will be eradicated, and “incurable” diseases banished to the history books. We will be able to recognize individuals who are at risk of serious health problems – preventative medicine will take a quantum leap in efficiency. We will also be able to lower the costs of healthcare with a more centralized analysis.

This is where the smart money is going.

There is a lot of investment in this area at the moment. Venture capitalists invested nearly $700 million into US digital health start-ups in just the first quarter of 2014, with a YOY growth of 87%. This is only going to accelerate with the results that these fledgling partnerships are starting to produce.
For example, Intel recently announced that it is working with the Michael J Fox Foundation For Parkinson’s Research on a new pilot initiative that is aimed at using data mined from wearable devices to detect patterns in the progression of the disease.

Wearable technology will be a vital part of the Healthcare Big Data equation. If you have apps to track the vital statistics of a user over a period of time, you will be able to overlap them with millions of other users. Strokes will be prevented. Heart attacks will be predicated….. Can you imagine your watch telling you that you have a 90% chance of a heart attack? You’ll stop whatever strenuous activity you are doing pretty sharpish.

There are many, many other examples, but the main thing is for our governments and our corporations to dream big. There are many issues to overcome before we can integrate Big Data into our healthcare systems, but we must start to take the first baby steps now. The benefits for our societies are undeniable, and the technology space could provide the platform for the biggest improvements in public healthcare since the invention of antibiotics.

The potential is there. The question is whether or not we will allow it to be realized.