The cost to the U.S. healthcare system from preventable conditions and avoidable care has been estimated in the range of $25-50 billion annually. Preventable conditions are a significant component of the $600-850 billion surplus in healthcare spending ultimately increasing cost and decreasing the overall quality of public health.
Timely access to outpatient services can prevent individuals with long-term medical problems from needing immediate acute care (usually through emergency room services). Some of these preventable conditions include uncontrolled diabetes, dehydration in elderly patients, asthma, and inappropriate management of hypertension.
Often, preventable conditions are not managed properly and patients are not always clear on the health consequences of their behavior. Educating a population of over 120 million covered lives on government-backed health insurance programs about their healthcare management is a national challenge. Enabling medical professionals to track and change patient behavior is critical to the long-term improvement of healthcare delivery. This where big data can serve as a major contributor to improving health and avoiding preventable conditions by tracking patient-level data.
The patient of the future
For individuals with chronic disease (or individuals who are just interested in maintaining their own health), there is a growing movement to digitally quantify themselves. These patients are taking their medical care into their own hands.
Take Larry Smarr for instance, the Internet pioneer who tracked and analyzed his steps, sleep patterns, and heart rate during exercise daily. Home health services are providing similar data links for real-time vital monitoring of patients. Collecting and analyzing this data from millions of people is a big data challenge.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is using big data and electronic health records to focus on bio-surveillance and disease outbreak prevention.
See on www.govhealthit.com