Healthcare workers are being asked to juggle an immensely large number of responsibilities right now. Besides dealing with the continued spread of COVID-19, they’re also grappling with a rise in deaths of despair and the possible financial calamity of their facilities going bankrupt.
In addition to these pressing issues, doctors and nurses have also been confronted with a number of rapidly advancing technologies that have totally upended their industry. Healthcare sensors now pervade the modern healthcare work environment, and big data systems are now being implemented quickly and sometimes without warning.
In many cases, that’s generated a slew of problems, some of which are more readily solvable than others. Here are three major problems with big data in healthcare and some ideas for how we can solve them by working together.
- We need to bolster data literacy
Healthcare professionals are being asked to analyze larger sums of data than ever before. While this is mostly a good thing when it comes to delivering positive patient outcomes, it also has some downsides.
Many doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals that have taken courses at Injectable Academy, are being asked to consume vast volumes of data without being adequately trained in data literacy. Data literacy is your level of familiarity and comfort when working with huge sums of dizzying information.
Healthcare workers are being handed massive patient portfolios that peer deep into the past and regurgitate immense amounts of patient data from years ago. In many instances, they lack the expertise needed to do this capably.
These are doctors and nurses who forayed into the medical world because they wanted to save lives, not because they were interested in computer programming or massive volumes of digital information. Despite their preferences, working with this data has nevertheless become incredibly essential for them to understand.
We must focus on a broad campaign to bolster data literacy across the healthcare sector. Working professionals need access to educational opportunities that will familiarize them with big data and its healthcare-specific applications. Improving healthcare data literacy will take time, money, and hard work, but it will be indispensable toward the future of the healthcare industry.
- We must become more transparent
Transparency has always been an essential aspect of the medical field; if medical providers can’t convince patients that they’re transparently delivering results, those patients will go elsewhere or shun medical care altogether.
These days, medical providers are vacuuming up more and more information than ever before. However, they seldom go to sufficient enough lengths to inform consumers about these data collection efforts. So, how should medical experts be changing their practices to become better champions of transparency?
According to a report on this very subject from the American College of Physicians, the healthcare industry should be focused on two things when it comes to transparency—the price and the clinical performance in question.
Being upfront with patients is never more important than when the time comes to pay their bills, as many patients will enjoy a positive healthcare experience but feel negative about the industry because of the steep charges they face.
Everybody knows that hospital billing is a complex and messy business, but until we’re more transparent about it, few patients will have faith in the industry. Healthcare providers of tomorrow need to focus more time and energy on price transparency and performance transparency if the industry is to remain vibrant for very long.
If customers are being denied opportunities to see how their cases resemble those of others, they’re not being offered the transparent experience they’ll come to demand. Healthcare providers that vacuum up consumer information must take steps to ensure that patients are well aware of how their information is being put to use.
- Navigating privacy regulations
The healthcare industry isn’t alone in its struggle with big data. Companies are finding themselves in hot water across the marketplace because they continuously flout complex privacy regulations, which are difficult to understand.
Until healthcare providers and legislators work hand in hand to ensure that patient privacy regulations are easy to adhere to, we’ll keep seeing data breaches and the unethical harvesting of consumer data for a myriad of nefarious purposes.
Many of these privacy problems spring from the fact that healthcare data sharing is important for the purpose of saving lives. Sharing this patient information also potentially infringes upon the privacy of the individuals in question, however.
Despite years of effort to overcome it, the so-called Goldilocks problem of sharing data (without sharing too much information) is still confronting healthcare professionals around the world.
As long as healthcare providers focus on providing patients with access to their own personal healthcare data, they’ll be able to win over future generations’ trust that will be needed to share healthcare data on a wide basis.
Healthcare workers must remain immensely flexible on this issue, too, as forthcoming privacy regulations will make this a difficult landscape to maneuver around for years to come.
Healthcare experts who are poised to make good use of big data have a number of serious challenges confronting them. Whether they’re struggling with a workforce that isn’t literate enough to make good use of data, a lack of easily discernible privacy regulations, or the inability of modern healthcare providers to be transparent, they have a full plate in front of them.
Luckily, these healthcare problems can be solved with a rigorous focus on patient privacy, which doesn’t prevent medical providers from sharing life-saving information.