Data is everywhere and it is becoming one of the most unavoidable components of any industry that the world operates in today. Healthcare is not far behind in this too.
There is a lot of conversation around how big data is interacting with healthcare world. Keeping the same perspective, Rashi Varshney of Express Computer spoke to Amit Mehta, Country Manager , Isilon Storage Division at EMC India & SAARC to bring out more about big data in respect to the healthcare industry.
With reference to India, How much data is generated by the healthcare?
Healthcare is one of the fastest growing segments of the digital universe, growing at 48 percent per year—compared to 40 percent per year for the overall digital universe
How does this transform or help in the transformation of healthcare? In what other ways does it benefit healthcare?
Technology can provide efficiency to healthcare to a great extent. Rural sector of the country that needs basic healthcare facilities in place can leverage data analytics to their benefit. Healthcare can be provided based on the focused approach through data analytics. Rural segments of the country where standardized quality of healthcare is an issue, mobility will play an important role in reaching places which are not accessible as of today. Trends like telemedicine and video consultation, being a nod to this trend will add greater value. Also, analytics will play an important role in determining the pain points of a particular area providing a backdrop to the healthcare facilities to be more focused and precise.
There are no standard records of the medical history in the rural parts of the country which can be managed with the help of IT solutions. Better use of data will enable information-driven decisions at lower costs. IT will be a critical enabler of future success, and will require an increased level of agility, flexibility, and scale. Hybrid cloud will allow better sharing and collaboration across continuum of care; data lakes will allow at-scale storage and data interpretation and data technologies will also provide an enterprise-level protection and security- essential for better deployments and maintenance of these solutions.
Who owns the data? Will the patients have any control over his own data? What are the other ethical issues involved?
“Big data” is the result of massive amounts of patient-related data. This data is being generated by clinical and imaging applications that are driven by advances in technology— which is emerging more quickly than ever before in the healthcare Industry. In a recent report, IDC Health Insights predicted that over the next 10 years, the amount of digital data created annually will grow 44 fold. Healthcare organizations are increasingly turning to new architectures and tools to help make sense of this big data phenomenon.
Ethical issues in healthcare are common. Nearly every decision that’s made has ethical implications–for patients, for providers and for healthcare leaders. Security measures such as firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion detection software must be included to protect data integrity. Specific policies and procedures serve to maintain patient privacy and confidentiality.
Which all technologies are gaining popularity in this sector and how? Briefly explain?
Technology is at the heart of every sector that the world operates in and healthcare is not far behind in the trend. There is a huge uptake of big data and analytics in the industry. Electronic Health Record (HER) replacement has already begun, with 50% of health systems projected to be on second-generation technology by 2020. Diagnostic and other health applications are also growing with increasing use of medical images and studies with larger image sizes. Adoption of clinical next generation sequencing (NGS) applications will drive the re-evaluation of access, privacy, and data retention policies. Additional unstructured contextual content such as video, audio, and text are being stored in medical records today.
Data from medical records is being crunched at a much higher speed than ever and most importantly the insights derived from them are being taken into account with much more wider outlook. It is essentially helping the doctors to provide a better diagnose and treatment to the patients, stay updated on the emerging trends and also provide a holistic approach to a certain case. Data crunching at such scale is also helping the medical world to cross reference between patients from various age groups and demographics and hence aiding them in envisioning a broader picture.
We see an emergence of a variety of applications that are being developed with the sole purpose of keeping the doctors connected with the patients at all times, this has broken down the constraints of location and availability
Please tell us about the product and services that EMC is providing in the healthcare sector?
EMC provides quality products and services for healthcare providers, payers, government agencies and life sciences to improve patient care quality. 57% of all healthcare data is useful if tagged and analyzed efficiently. Keeping that in perspective, EMC offers ‘Advanced Medical Imaging Solutions for Healthcare’ to consolidate, virtualize, and manage clinical and business applications and ‘Backup and Recovery Solutions for Healthcare’ for providers to strengthen their data protection, streamline backup and recovery, and meet a wide range of service levels for even the largest data volumes.
Other than these, the company also provides solutions such as EMC Clinical Archiving, EMC Image and Content Management and Mobile Health Solutions for health care providers, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Solutions for payers and Scale-out Storage Solutions for Healthcare to Government agencies for various projects revolving around healthcare industry.
EMC also extensively provides solutions to Life Sciences verticals. The solutions include Clinical and Research Analytics, Cloud Computing, Collaboration and Knowledge Management, Compliance and Trust for Life Sciences, Documentum Electronic Trial Master File, Documentum Quality and Manufacturing, Documentum Research and Development, Next-Generation Sequencing Storage Solutions, etc.
What are your investment and expansion plans this year?
Healthcare represents a significant percentage of the overall Digital Universe, and is growing at the fastest rate of 48% per year. Owing to that, we intend to focus on products and services that can be leveraged by the sector. We will endeavour to support data management, analytics, mobile applications and the movement towards cloud based operations with increased effort and focus.
Any recommendations that you would like to give to the Government? May be a policy expectation?
In my opinion, the government has moved significantly in the right direction with the Digital India campaign, of which, healthcare is an important aspect. Furthermore, policies will have to be designed keeping in perspective the key pain points. The medical records will have to be stored and managed on a platform agnostic and consistent platform. The skill gap between the technologies and doctors and medical professionals will have to be bridged more actively. Aspects like how technology can be best used to determine ailments and provide the best options of treatment will also have to be integrated with the policies/amendments. A better adoption of technology will also lead to an increase in providing more accessibility and transparency to the patients transforming the country into a healthier nation.