Recent studies show that the global healthcare analytics market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 23.7 percent, to touch $10.8 billion in four years. This is huge. Simply put Data Science has begun to revolutionize medicine and the healthcare industry in ways we never imagined.
Well how exactly can Healthcare analytics benefit us? In its simplest form it will contribute to the increased efficiency of traditional and routine administrative procedures like billing and patient registration. It will help reduce operational costs, making healthcare more affordable for the masses. Most importantly by gathering and processing the gigantic volumes of health related data that is generated every minute, doctors and health officials could help save lives. They could prevent disease outbreaks, make better diagnoses and predict the onset of infections much before it becomes clinically apparent.
Some of the more exciting and innovative healthcare analytics outfits like Ginger.io and CellScope use data analytics and mobile technology to empower patients, encouraging them to monitor their own health and even make simple self diagnoses for things like ear infections and the flu.
In India while it’s true that other sectors like banking, insurance and retail have harnessed the power of big data with much more success, the health sector in comparison seems to be lagging behind. However we are beginning to see some activity and we hope that more and more, the health sector will recognize the advantages of big data and adopt analytic initiatives with more vigour.
One example of healthcare analytics in India is the app called the KGB (Kooda, Gandagi, Badboo, meaning garbage, dirt, bad smell) developed by the Public Health Foundation of India. This app uses social networking platforms to improve sanitation and hygiene in urban areas. People can post pictures of garbage or overflowing gutters on any social media platform. Where it gets interesting, is how the data is channelled to a central database and forwarded to health authorities. Based on if there are a lot of pictures from a single neighbourhood they can predict the outbreak of vector bone diseases and initiate some action to combat the outbreak before it actually unleashes itself within the community.
Another example is the Aarogyasri Health Care Trust (a Government initiative offering health insurance schemes to Below Poverty Line families for treating catastrophic illness). They have partnered with SAS to leverage the claims, financial and clinical data they collect and to improve lead times, prevent fraud, recognize disease trends and forecast budgets and funds needed.
As a healthcare analyst, your primary role will involve effectively processing and analysing health related data, which you will then bring to decision makers, enabling them to make smarter decisions.
The healthcare industry in India is largely predicted to grow to $ 120 billion by 2015. Fuelled by this growth, the industry will begin to develop their analytics capabilities and embrace data science. This in turn will lead to a big demand for data scientists. Not only will they need junior level analytics talent for simple tasks like sorting, reporting and data exploring, but they will also need more experienced analytic professionals. These data professionals will be required to manage and manipulate, visualize and interpret the more complex, humungous volumes of health related data that are collected on a daily basis across the country.
So if you are business savvy, good with numbers and eager to ride the analytics wave, then I would seriously suggest getting on to the boom in the healthcare analytics industry which is poised for takeoff. Take some time to understand what big data is all about, register for an analytics course and pick up some programming skills. Be ready when the health care industry calls…..Yes that’s the future.
Want to know more about the other industries that analytics is breaking into? Read our blog post on Predictive Analytics Has a Future in Education.