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Ireland-UK, EIT Health Ireland-UK

Five Opportunities for Big Data to Transform Healthcare

25th January 2022

In this week’s Ireland-UK hub blog we take a look at what opportunities are on the horizon for healthcare as data-driven technologies advance further. We highlight innovations already being developed across our region.

Today, 30%[1] of the world’s data generated is attributable to the healthcare industry. Each activity patients and healthcare providers engage in gets documented digitally via electronic health information systems and digital patient records. This has led to inconceivable volumes of data being generated from multiple sources such as genomics, diagnostic imaging, wearable devices, among others.

This vast amount of healthcare data provides profound insight into diseases, and – when used efficiently and appropriately – can optimize healthcare delivery and patient outcomes. The market value of Big Data in healthcare is expected to reach over $78 billion [2] by 2027.

Here’s our pick of top five opportunities advances in data-driven technologies have the potential to deliver, along with some local examples of this innovation in action:

From treatment to prevention

Predictive analytics solutions can provide models for early diagnosis, thereby avoiding preventable diseases or delaying their onset.

An example of an EIT Health-supported innovation project underway in this space is the Alzheimer’s Disease Prediction Service (ADPS). ADPS develops and markets a solution with a 10-minute smartphone-based test that can predict Alzheimer’s Disease up to six years before patients even show symptoms, using data that has shown over 90% accuracy.

Cost reductions

Data-driven technologies can boost efficiencies. For example, the move to electronic health records reduces administration costs. Smart devices can assist practitioners with more accurate diagnosis, faster.

A start-up from the BioInnovate programme at NUI Galway, FeelTect, has developed Tight Alright, a connected health platform for monitoring compression therapy. Tight Alright is a wearable device with multiple pressure sensors that wirelessly connects with a digital platform. Tight Alright can reduce healing times, and facilitate self-managed treatment, both which help reduce overall costs incurred to the patient, and the provider.

Enables the transition to High Value Care

High value care is a term used for the restructuring of healthcare delivery towards measurable outcomes that have high impact and matter most to patients. Data can be a catalyst driving progress in this direction.

In 2017, NHS Wales developed a portal for standardised patient-reported outcome measures (PROM) collection for 31 care pathways, with questionnaires available in English and validated Welsh translations. Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) became a pioneer in collecting PROMS for over 20 conditions with a 77% response rate via smartphones.

Supports informed medical decisions

With greater insights through research, development, and innovation, patient management and outcomes can be optimised.

London start-up Abtrace has built a unique AI tool which acts as an intelligent layer on top of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) scanning the data included on this, and suggests proactively which tests or treatments a patient with a long-term health condition needs or might benefit from. The software empowers GPs and healthcare assistants to make data-driven decisions, automate key elements of disease monitoring, and ensure patients receive consistent, effective care.

Improves patient experience through personalisation

When used correctly, data enables a personalised level of care which leads to an optimized patient experience and improved quality of life.

AI-based assistive technology provider MiiCare is a digital health platform for elderly people living alone to help them manage their health. The MiiCare app sets personalised medication alerts and reminders, tracks activity such as rest or body vitals, and monitors hydration. The advanced AI can detect, and predict expected health problems, helping to prevent these via emergency voice command. This personalised app promotes healthy habits and behaviours for the elderly.

Learn more

A panel of experts recently discussed data-driven technologies in healthcare at the online event ‘How to Deploy Data at Scale in Healthcare Environments.’

Gain practical advice and hear directly from the experts by watching the event on-demand here.

You can learn more about these topics via EIT Health’s thought-leadership forum, over at our Think Tank page:

  1. RBC Capital Markets. 2021. The healthcare data explosion. (online) Available at: https://www.rbccm.com/en/gib/healthcare/episode/the_healthcare_data_explosion#content-panel(Accessed 24 January 2022)

  2. Press statement by Emergen Research, (2020). (online) Available at: https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/12/17/2146728/0/en/Big-Data-in-Healthcare-Market-Size-Worth-USD-78-03-Billion-by-2027-Emergen-Research.html (Accessed 24 January 2022)

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