3 Reasons Modern Medicine Needs Modern Data

At Rock West Solutions in Goleta, CA,  data processing as it relates to the medical industry plays a key role in many of the things they do. They use big data to create better signal processing for medical applications. They use it to develop better imaging devices. They use it to help medical facilities deploy predictive analysis tools.

Everything Rock West Solutions does within the medical industry requires a different way of looking at data. They understand that modern medicine needs modern data. Modern medicine needs innovative ways of gathering data, analyzing it, and putting it to practical use.

There are three things driving the implementation of big data in Western medicine, particularly in the United States. These are as follows:

1. Risk-Based Contracts

Health insurance providers work like crazy to keep their costs down. Lower costs equal higher profit. In recent years, one of the cost-cutting tools they have come up with is known as the risk-based contract. A risk-based contract helps them control their costs by putting more responsibility on individual providers and provider groups.

The three main components of a risk-based contract are:

  • greater responsibility for managing overall care shifted to providers
  • responsibility for cost overruns shifted to providers
  • built-in incentives to encourage providers to manage costs better.

All of this is well and good from the insurance company’s standpoint. From the doctor’s standpoint however, risk-based contracts are a nightmare. They need to measure how they are doing if they want to protect their own bottom lines. They need modern data to do so.

2. Outcome-Based Medicine

Regardless of your position on the Affordable Care Act, one of the undeniable benefits of the legislation is that it forced the medical industry to transform from a fee-for-service model to an outcome-based model. Reimbursements from insurance companies and government insurance programs are now based more on patient outcomes than static rate schedules.

Once again, physicians and group practices need some sort of report card to figure out how they are doing. Otherwise, they have no way of knowing what needs to improve. So they are relying more heavily on big data to keep track of it all.

Big data offers the opportunity to track patient outcomes over extended periods of time. It offers the opportunity to compare exceptionally large data sets locally, regionally, and nationally. In theory, all of this data should allow doctors to figure out better ways to treat patients to create better outcomes, reduce hospital admissions, and so forth.

3. Technology Outpacing Utility

Finally, the pace at which medical technology is advancing is mind numbing. We now have medical devices capable of doing astonishing things. Unfortunately, we still lack practical applications. In simple terms, our technology is outpacing our ability to use it.

The promise of big data in this regard is one of providing more utility for all of this technology. Big data offers the promise of finding ways to use all of the data our technology produces in order to create better outcomes for patients.

Without better ways of putting data into use, those technologies we develop in the future will offer limited utility. That would be okay if we continued to use the same practice models we have used for decades. But in the era of risk-based contracts and outcome-based medicine, that will just not do.

Big data is by no means a new phenomenon. But it is finally making its way into the medical sector thanks to the combined efforts of tech companies and medical innovators. That is good because modern medicine needs modern data.

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