Paging Dr. Data

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Imagine a world where traditional medicine could cure cancer even before diagnosis. With advancements in medical data, we are well on the way to more pre-emptive measures in healthcare. No longer will healthcare be merely the reactive response to illnesses, but the proactive steps our healthcare system sorely needs to prevent diseases and keep wait times and costs down.

Admittedly or not, the healthcare industry is a business. Like most businesses, healthcare is tapping into the collection of data outside of handwritten charts. Instead of viewing patient history on a case-by-case basis, medical data is able to input families or groups of patients into relationship-based studies to detect the likelihood of cancer-development, drug reactions and responses, and whether early stages of disease will advance to a lethal form.

Recently, IBM examined the three key areas of advancement in medical data:

“Successfully harnessing big data unleashes the potential to achieve the three critical objectives for healthcare transformation:

Build sustainable healthcare systems

Collaborate to improve care and outcomes

Increase access to healthcare”[1]

Cancer, diabetes and heart disease are the three biggest contributors of illnesses in Western society. They are also the most preventable, especially if a patient is at high risk of being genetically predispositioned or life choices are a factor. Medical data is can be used to trace relationship data from a patients pathology, family and pharmaceutical history, and cellular life cycle. It is in the cellular genome[2] data that modern medicine gets its biggest boost in disease prevention. By charting the course of cellular mutations through data-based projections, doctors are able to see if a cell will continue on to a more aggressive stage.

Medical data has many benefits for the current resource-strapped healthcare system. Aside from the ability to cut wait times and costs, medical data will be able to give patients less intrusive forms of medical investigation. Medical data gives piece of mind in knowing a doctor has the ability to predict a course of action for a once unpredictable future.

[1] http://www-01.ibm.com/software/data/bigdata/industry-healthcare.html

[2] http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20150131/MAGAZINE/301319978/the-time-is-now-for-data-driven-medicine-requiring-elimination-of

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