Big data was a largely unknown entity when introduced to healthcare just over 20 years ago. During its first decade, many were skeptical as to whether or not big data would have any measurable impact on healthcare jobs. We are now finally beginning to see that impact. Big data is being integrated into healthcare jobs in actionable ways.
The big data concept is best understood by analyzing its name. In terms of being big, it is all about collecting as much data as is humanly possible. Big data starts with the premise of volume. In other words, collecting exponentially more data should eventually provide exponentially more benefits.
Focusing on the quality of data during the collection process is irrelevant. Instead, the goal is to get as much you can. It is up to data analysts to figure out how to use information once collected. That is one of the reasons it has taken so long to positively impact healthcare jobs. It has taken analyst that long to figure out how to use the data.
Electronic Health Records
One of the clearest examples of big data impacting healthcare is observed in electronic health records (EHRs). Just the thought of EHRs caused nightmares when first mandated back in 2010. But over the last decade, healthcare IT providers have been diligently working to build EHR systems that are accurate, efficient, and easy to use.
In a clinical setting, EHRs give doctors and nurses instant access to all sorts of important patient information. Records are more complete. Health histories are more informative. Clinicians are now able to make more informed decisions thanks to big data and EHRs.
Nonclinical jobs are impacted as well. For example, EHRs give the accounting department accurate information relating to charges and expenses. They give administrators important data relating to operational efficiency and patient outcomes.
Big data has proved itself a worthwhile tool for introducing standardization to healthcare delivery. This is no small accomplishment. The healthcare sector has been in need of standardization for years. Unfortunately, it has been hard to come by in an industry that is still trying to overcome fragmentation.
So how is big data helping? By providing hard numbers that show how effective certain strategies and methodologies are. The data defines what works and what does not. Moreover, consistent data tends to blur the lines between what one facility does as compared to another. They can both see the same data and, as a result, move toward the same solution.
Data can clearly show facilities the most efficient ways to cut costs. Likewise, it can show them the areas most likely to increase revenues. Data can be helpful in better defining tasks as mundane as supply procurement.
More Big Data Jobs
It is difficult to talk about big data in healthcare without mentioning the jobs that go with it. Visit a site like Health Jobs Nationwide and you will discover plenty of facilities looking to hire healthcare IT workers. These are workers who are trained in IT with a specialty in the healthcare sector.
For big data to be of any use, there have to be people in place who know how to collect and analyze it. As such, there is a growing demand for big data experts in healthcare. Healthcare facilities and IT firms alike need people who know how to make sense of all of the data being collected.
After 20 years, big data is finally impacting healthcare jobs in actionable ways. Expect to see more of the same in the coming years. Healthcare is becoming ever more data driven.