Data science is an interdisciplinary field involving data study and analysis. It has been gaining popularity in recent years due to its potential to unlock value from data. Data science has several applications and can be used in various industries such as insurance, education, retail, and even the health sector. As we know, the health sector deals with data related to human health daily. From patients who visit doctors, to hospital records, to sensitive health information, there’s a lot of data about human health.
Technology and data have given rise to specialized experts in the field. As a result, there has been a greater push to help professionals sharpen their education. For example, more people want to go into the data science field and now explore online Master’s in Data Science degrees. Also, those in the profession continually upgrade their skills. The fact of the matter is that data science is a dynamic field. As a result, it evolves and transforms every day. So, you need professionals on the leading edge, including in the healthcare sector. Let’s explore what it all means in the health industry and how it could get applied.
What is data science?
Data science is extracting insights from data through data analytics and data-driven experiments. To go a bit deeper, data analytics examines data to identify insights and patterns. Data-driven experiments test different hypotheses based on insights from data analytics. Data science applies algorithms, machine learning and analysis of large datasets to solve industry challenges. You can apply data science to every stage of the healthcare process. From patient data to information about diseases, you can use data science. With the rapid growth of data, data science has become increasingly important.
Big data and healthcare
As technology moves forward and we create more digital systems, the amount of data collected increases exponentially. While this is a good sign for the economy and society, it can be overwhelming for entities such as hospitals. It’s required that all healthcare providers track patient data. It can include data points from demographics to insurance information. Moreover, it’s vital to store it securely. However, the sheer volume of data (i.e., big data) generated makes storing and accessing information challenging. As a result, it has led to an increase in demand for trained data scientists. The hospital sector requires data scientists who properly handle big data.
Detecting fraud in healthcare using data science
Unfortunately, fraud is present in the healthcare sector. Healthcare fraud costs the industry billions of dollars each year. Incidents such as false billing and insurance scams occur when individuals try to exploit the system. When the system detects fraud, it’s challenging to trace it back to the source and identify the parties responsible. However, data scientists help track perpetrators by using machine learning algorithms to detect patterns in data. This is especially useful when analyzing insurance data to detect false claims. As patients know, all companies, including healthcare providers, must store their customers’ insurance information. With data science, which includes analytics, the detection of false claims by spotting irregularities and patterns will only improve.
Machine learning for detecting disease
Early detection of diseases is critical for improving patient outcomes. As the world saw during the COVID-19 pandemic, professionals used machine learning algorithms quite well. For example, it can detect diseases such as cancer by analyzing patient health data. However, given the large amount of data related to patient health, data scientists employ various techniques to reduce this data into a cleaner, more usable form. For instance, algorithms and machine learning can detect abnormalities in patient health data. In turn, they can get programmed to send alerts to the treating physician. This allows the doctor to have a closer view of their patient and to intervene more quickly.
Data science can help to identify key health trends
The key to effective data-driven healthcare is the ability to integrate data from several different sources. This allows organizations to create a more holistic picture and see trends or patterns that may otherwise go unnoticed. For example, many pharmaceuticals have created ‘real-time’ data dashboards. These allow doctors to monitor how patients respond to medications, improving patient outcomes. Data-driven healthcare also allows healthcare providers to identify areas for improvement. For example, if a hospital sees patients experiencing long wait times, data scientists can help identify the issue’s source and recommend solutions.
Game-changing robotic assistants
Robotic assistants are a valuable data science asset for health providers. These robots are programmed to assist in medical procedures. They work alongside medical teams in the operating room. However, the instructions required to operate these robots are usually fairly complex. This can make it challenging to manage them. Recognizing this problem, some data scientists are developing simpler interfaces. For example, they’re programming an interface with instructions corresponding to the procedure. The user simply selects the instructions that match the procedure. In doing so, it allows doctors to operate the robots with ease.
Using data to measure patient outcomes and experience
Many diseases happen as a result of smoking or obesity. Still, other conditions are genetic, and patients can’t avoid them. Depending on the disease, medical providers can intervene and offer their patients preventative care to improve the situation. Also, some conditions get discovered after a patient receives treatment. For example, a person diagnosed with cancer may have had no prior symptoms. Data scientists can use machine learning algorithms to identify trends in patient data to predict diseases before diagnosis. Ultimately, data science helps doctors identify conditions earlier and provide patients with the treatment they need.
Importance of data science in healthcare
Healthcare is an industry that relies heavily on data and data science. Before the emergence of data science, professionals used labor and time-intensive methods to analyze information. However, data science facilitates analyzing vast amounts of data and provides new insights. We can apply data science in many ways, including fraud detection and predicting healthcare risks and outcomes.
We can use data science to identify trends and measure patient outcomes and experiences in whole populations. Data science has been gaining popularity in recent years due to its enormous potential to unlock value from data. We’re only on the cusp of a massive data revolution – and it requires more specialists and professionals to enter the field to help improve healthcare outcomes for everyone.