Healthcare has always been an industry at the forefront of technology. From digitized records to telemedicine, healthcare has experienced an overhaul over the last few years.
However, large amounts of data have always plagued the industry and hampered informed decision-making.
To tackle data, healthcare companies are turning to machine learning and data science. These help providers gain a competitive advantage by leveraging their large quantities of patient data and improving efficiency in areas like scheduling, supply chain management, and drug discovery.
In this blog post, we will explore five ways that data science is being applied within the healthcare industry and the core benefits of data science in healthcare.
What are the main advantages of data science in healthcare?
Data science is a broad field, and it’s not just about healthcare. But there are some specific ways that the healthcare industry can benefit from it.
A better understanding of patients
One of the biggest benefits of data science in healthcare is that it helps to improve patient care. Healthcare organizations can collect more data than ever before, which means they have more information about their patients than ever before.
This allows them to better understand their patient’s needs, wants, and preferences and how best to meet them. Data science also helps healthcare professionals make better decisions based on this information.
More accurate diagnoses
Data science algorithms can help identify patterns in a patient’s symptoms and symptoms from other patients with similar conditions. This allows doctors to predict which treatments will be most effective before administering them, thus saving time and money by avoiding ineffective treatments or unnecessary tests.
Improved medical research
Since data scientists have access to so much information about patients’ histories and current conditions, they’re able to conduct more comprehensive studies than ever before.
How is data science applied in healthcare?
The application matrix of data analysis in medicine is immense. As data is the lifeblood of healthcare, effective and nearly real-time analysis can drastically improve patient outcomes and increase the effectiveness of treatments.
Personalized medicine is the use of data and analytics to deliver treatment that is tailored to an individual’s genetic makeup. Personalized medicine can help patients with a specific disease or condition, such as cancer or diabetes. It can also identify people who are at risk for developing a disease in the future so that they can take steps to reduce their chances of developing it.
Data science applications in personalized medicine may include:
- Genome sequencing: The identification and analysis of all genes in an organism’s DNA;
- Drug discovery: A process by which pharmaceutical companies identify new drugs based on chemical compounds found in nature;
- Pharmacogenomics: Using genetic information about an individual patient’s genes to make decisions about which medications are most likely to work best.
Medical imaging is an essential component of clinical medicine and is used in the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of disease. Medical imaging also contributes to advances in basic science research as well as education.
The major applications for medical images are:
- Cardiovascular Imaging: MRI/CT angiography, cardiac CT, and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) for nuclear cardiology studies
- Diagnostic Radiology: X-rays and fluoroscopy
- Nuclear Medicine: PET/SPECT; gamma cameras; SPECT/CT scanners; Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT); Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT); Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced CT
Scheduling and staffing
According to a report, 90% of emergency department patients were seen by a medical professional within 1 hour and 39 minutes in 2018. This can be attributed to factors including new and more complex patient needs, an increase in hospital admissions, and an increase in outpatient procedures.
These all combine to create a more challenging environment for healthcare professionals and make it difficult for them to deliver timely care.
Data science has been shown to improve scheduling and staffing by helping companies:
- Reduce costs by optimizing their workflows through analysis of historical data (such as the length of time certain physicians spend with each type of patient)
- Improve patient experience through predictive analytics that helps predict staffing needs based on projected patient volume
Supply chain management
In the healthcare industry, supply chain management is one of the key areas where data science can have a huge impact. The goal of supply chain management is to ensure that everyone involved in the manufacturing and distribution process has what they need at all times while minimizing waste and costs.
Data science can help with all three goals, including better inventory management through real-time analysis as well as identifying potential problems before they occur. It can also reduce costs by eliminating wasted materials or unnecessary labor hours.
Faster drug discovery
Drug discovery is a long and expensive process that requires a lot of trials. Data science can help predict the best compounds to test, design better experiments, and identify which compounds are most likely to be effective.
Healthcare companies are gaining a competitive advantage by leveraging machine learning and data science. In a healthcare setting, data science is an opportunity for both the provider and its customers to gain valuable insights into their respective operations.
Drug discovery is a very challenging task, but the ability to leverage AI tools can help researchers quickly identify promising candidates with fewer resources while saving time and money.
One way data science is being used in drug discovery is through the use of machine learning. By feeding vast amounts of data into algorithms, machine learning can identify patterns that would be impossible for humans to see. This is helping scientists to better understand the mechanisms of disease and identify potential new treatments.
Data science is also being used to create virtual models of diseases. These models can be used to test potential new drugs and understand how they interact with the disease. By understanding the disease at a molecular level, scientists can more effectively develop treatments that target the root cause of the disease.
Data science is a growing field of study that has the potential to revolutionize healthcare. It can help doctors and medical professionals make more informed decisions about treatment plans for patients, which will lead to better outcomes for everyone.