When you walk into a doctor’s office, you are probably not expecting to fall victim to one of the many medical errors that occur globally each year, but accidents happen—and they can happen to anyone, even at the best medical facilities in the world. Despite everyone’s best efforts, doctors often prescribe the wrong medications to patients or transcribe incorrect information, leading to medical complications and even fatalities. In the United States alone, 400,000 people die from preventable medical errors each year, according to Healthcare IT News. These statistics are grim, but we do have an exciting tool available to help prevent medical errors: big data. By analyzing large healthcare data sets, big data gives us insights and assistance in solving healthcare’s biggest problems.
Reducing malpractice is just one of the ways big data is revolutionizing the healthcare industry. Additionally, big data is the backbone of artificial intelligence technology, which will eventually be used to scan cloud-based data to help prevent misdiagnosis and transcription errors. Even now, some hospitals are moving to cloud systems to help reduce errors, and integrate patient records more efficiently.
Prescription errors have become a major problem, and big data is one of the tools used to prevent prescriber mistakes. Modern Healthcare reports that MedAware, a new company founded by Dr. Gidi Stein, uses big data to reduce prescription drug errors by scanning patient data and flagging any prescriptions that don’t match up with the records on file. If an error is detected, the drug will not be ordered until the physician confirms the order or selects the correct drug. Current alert systems can catch drug interactions and unusually high doses, but are unable to determine if the wrong prescription has been chosen. Though MedAware has not yet been implemented into hospital systems, it is currently undergoing testing, and healthcare professionals are extremely optimistic about the potential of the software.
Aside from patient safety, the overall healthcare experience can be improved by big data as well. For example, the Cleveland Clinic was able to improve its patient experience significantly by using analytics to examine patterns and determine what patients really wanted. Once they had the data, they created a plan for improving on those areas, which increased patient satisfaction overall.
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