Every year in the United States, $3.8 trillion is spent on healthcare. In order to reduce medical spending, it is important to start planning and implementing a system that will provide the same standard of healthcare but at a lower cost. With the development of online patient medical information, doctors can collaborate with data scientists and take advantage of big data. IBM Watson is a system that is capable of machine learning and natural language processing. Through IBM Watson, it is now possible to uncover never before seen insights into unstructured data. The system is currently being used in some hospitals to help doctors make decisions with their patients. It does this by the doctor inputting patient symptoms, IBM Watson data mines the patients previous medical history, combines information from tests, creates a hypothesis and then provides the doctor with treatment options and a confidence rating. With this system in place, the time to diagnose and treat a patient is minimized. We all know that time wasted is money lost, so a system like this has the potential to save hospitals millions of dollars.
“Goodbye, hope we don’t see you again!” – Is a phrase most service providers do not want to use – unless you are treating patients.
It is believed by researchers that up to 30% of readmissions can be prevented. This means approximately $12.4 billion (the cost to build 8800 hospitals) is being wasted every year. With the use of big data analytics, it is possible to predict on a more reliable basis on which patients are most likely to be readmitted, and for what reason. With this advanced information, doctors will now be able to give further treatment and more precise medication to prevent patients from returning. During an emergency situation where there are mass casualties, we can imagine an environment being chaotic and stressful for medical teams. It is important for hospital staff to evaluate and categorize the sickness or wounds of every patient to allow efficient use of insufficient resources. Unfortunately, if a doctor classifies the seriousness of a patient incorrectly, lives may be at risk and hospital equipment may not be utilized effectively. However, with a triage algorithm, doctors can be provided with a second opinion on patient priority based on information through big data analytics. A tool like this will allow medical staff to make decisions more quickly and precisely– ultimately saving lives and money. Finally, one area of particular complexity within a hospital environment is where chronic conditions affect multiple organs. These conditions are very difficult to treat due to multiple body dysfunctions. Hospitals have to use many resources in their efforts to treat the patient. Once again, big data can be used to the hospital’s advantage enabling doctors to predict how certain treatments will affect the patient. Through these discoveries medical staff will be able to prescribe the optimal treatment for each patient.
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