Everywhere you look, something is connected to the internet and data is being stored for later use.  

For example, driving on the turnpike has changed. You no longer have to hand someone money for tolls, you can cruise on through and a camera will take a photo of your license plate and a week later, you have a bill for the toll.

One of the biggest industries to benefit from IoT and big data is the healthcare industry.

Not only does IoT and big data make it easier to track people’s whereabouts or medications with the use of barcoding or electronic health records, but it can help improve overall patient experience.

Patients View on Technology Being Used in Healthcare

In 2013, 66% of people were willing to share their personal health information to help them achieve an improvement in care.

We would expect that this number increased as more people adopted technology, but it didn’t. By 2016, 86% of patients were unwilling to share their personal health data.

The main reason for the skepticism? Data breaches and the feeling of limited privacy protection by patients.

With the use of patient portals, mobile apps, and EHRs, patients, healthcare providers and pharmacists can access the patient’s files much easier and quicker than traditional record keeping.

The benefits are clearly but healthcare providers will need to address data breaches and privacy protections moving forward.  

Reduced Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

Big Data can also be used to reduce healthcare costs by preventing and decreasing the amount of fraud, waste, and abuse. The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services used predictive analytics to prevent over $210.7 million in healthcare fraud in a single year.

In order to prevent identity theft and abuse, insurance companies need to be able to analyze datasets of old claims. They do this by using machine-learning algorithms to pick out unique patterns and strange anomalies. By running the data, providers can detect things like multiple submissions of claims, treatment and unnecessary medication, or providers who run excessive amounts of tests.

Relax with Virtual Reality

Stress and anxiety on a body can decrease healing time for a wound by as much as 25%. Patients can use virtual reality as a way to reduce stress before a surgical procedure. This also leads to a decrease anesthetic risk.

Also, when a patient is stressed before surgery, they’re more likely to need pain medications after the surgery. The increased use of pain medication can further affect recovery time because it could slow their breathing which will increase the likelihood of pulmonary risk.

IoT and Affordable Care Act

Affordable care act allowed 20 million Americans to have healthcare coverage who didn’t previously have it. Not only were millions of people able to access affordable healthcare, but they were also able to better track their health.

Providers and patients can now use health-related apps such as MyChart Mobile, Marbella or GetWellNetwork to track medical and billing information and treatment plans. The IoT uses patient-generated data to analyze outcomes, data from medical devices, and wearable data. All of this data can be used to figure out how satisfied patients are and what treatments work.

IoT can also be used to see what areas need ambulatory care nurses who can provide care for patients outside of the hospital setting, or if a low-income areas would benefit from nurse managed health centers where advanced practice registered nurse can provide basic care and offer prevention-focused services.

Wrapping Up

The world is full of technology that gathers, sorts, analyzes, and records data. Whether it is the toll booth that snags your license plate number and sends you a bill, or a hospital that uses virtual reality to help it’s patients relax before a big surgery.

Our world is data driven and it’s a double edged sword. IoT can help the lines of communication between doctors, nurses, patients, and insurance companies, but those same systems also can be breached. Fortunately, there are security systems in place that are always changing and improving how data is kept safe.

Data security will be a key area to watch in the development and adoption of Big Data systems. If this challenge can be overcome, or even just managed, than the healthcare industry will continue to change and we, the patients, will benefit!



AORN Journal

Bradley University Online Master of Science in Nursing

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Norwich University Online Master of Science in Nursing