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Understanding the benefits of data in healthcare

19 Feb 2021

Healthcare data can change lives – with the right approach

If the pandemic has confirmed anything, it is that we’re collecting more data than ever before.

This often gets negative press but when used and analysed correctly, it has the potential to improve lives and change businesses in amazing ways. Particularly in areas like healthcare and medicine development, where data sharing during the pandemic has been key not only to create vaccines but to fast track the collection and analysis of patient trial data.

But while we all know how to capture data, the real question is: how do we harness it?

Data as a strategic asset

In our Future Ready Report, 78% of businesses said that data has become an increasingly important strategic asset.

Also, 77% said data has become essential to their day-to-day operations and 74% said data is key to making the best commercial decisions.
These figures are even higher for ‘future-ready’ companies, those that are confident and best prepared for emerging trends, challenges and possibilities, with 90% saying that data has become essential to day-to-day operations.

We all want to get the most value from data. But a large number 73% of companies say effectively harnessing the data they collect is a major challenge.

Proving data value

Though the value of data will differ across business functions, it is worth making the effort to explore your data assets. And there are several techniques and tools available to support you.

Data visualisation is a perfect example of a tool that turns a mass of information into something incredibly easy to understand – and use.

During the pandemic, anonymised network data has been presented in the form of heat maps to show population movement throughout Europe, providing governments and health authorities with valuable insights to assess the effectiveness of containment and reduce the spread of the virus.

Making good use of data will also be critical as we embark upon the next phase of the pandemic – achieving global vaccination programmes.

In developed countries, mass vaccination is a big logistical exercise, but one we can deliver. Using IoT through smart supply chains, the location of vaccines can be tracked from production through to testing and vaccination hubs.

Using the data captured, drug delivery can be reassigned to specific areas of high demand to ensure supply reaches the priority vulnerable groups. Anonymised patient database information can then be updated to provide a national overview of the progress and shared with the right officials.

Making it work

Healthcare providers like SystemOne have been using data to better manage the supply chain in the developing world in recent years to get the right testing equipment, medicines and expertise to the right place, at the right time.

By connecting their diagnostic devices through The Internet of Things (IoT), they’re able to quickly share diagnostic data from remote clinics with frontline doctors, ensuring patients receive the right medication.
Real-time alerts from medical diagnostic devices are also monitored, allowing rapid response to any disease outbreaks. For doctors dealing with diseases such as TB, HIV and Ebola, this speed of diagnosis is critical.

How data and IoT support healthcare in remote areas

In less developed countries, especially in remote communities, ensuring the right people receive the vaccine in the right dose at the right time is going to be far harder – and not just due to the cost.
The logistics of managing these programmes, particularly for vaccines that have very specific needs such as temperature or storage, will be challenging.

There are also companies like Kinseed that are helping hospitals to output data in near real time using managed IoT connectivity, ensuring consultants can monitor every patient journey (to and from hospital) and proactively intervene if there are issues.

A managed IoT connectivity platform means all connections can be managed from one place. In some instances, medics have been able to reduce the test, diagnose and treatment cycle from two months to just three days.
They have removed the need for paperwork and motorcycle couriers, even in the most remote locations. Patient records are updated automatically and the information is available for all consultants to see.

The quick deployment of digital technologies like these will be key to supporting mass global vaccinations during 2021. Data really is our lifeblood.

Learn how to harness it and use data to transform your business and products.

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