The Business Analytics Institute will once again be hosting its Summer School in Data Science for Management in Bayonne, France from July 2 to 11 2018. In this exclusive five-part series on Why Future Managers Should Invest in Data Science, we will explore the BAI’s unique value proposition around improving managerial decision-making.
Michel Foucault once argued that the only viable yardstick for measuring the value of technology is its contribution to developing human well-being. The near future of Health Analytics may provide substantive proof of this vision. Each day, the human body produces two terabytes of usable data on an individual’s heart rate, sleep patterns, blood glucose, stress levels and brain activity.[i] By 2020, roughly 25,000 petabytes of patient data will be available to the industry.[ii] As healthcare organizations invest heavily in technology and analytics to take advantage of these opportunities, what are the opportunities for aspiring data scientists?
What is Health Analytics?
Health Analytics involves deriving insights from patterns and correlations in the data that can fuel better decision making in the Health and Life Sciences. KPMG’s recent survey of healthcare professionals reveals that fifty-six percent of the participants surveyed believe that analytics will largely contribute to health care processes, while 35 percent cite lowering healthcare costs, and 32 percent suggest improved health outcomes.[iii]
According to the recent study by Research and Markets, this market is expected to reach USD 24.55 Billion by 2021 from USD 7.39 Billion in 2016, which represents a CAGR of 27.1%.[iv] This exceptional market growth is driven by factors including a multiplication of government initiatives to enhance the adoption of electronic health records, rising pressure to curb healthcare spending, the perceived need to improve patient outcomes, the increase of venture capital investments in the industry, and advancements in analytics and big data technologies.
Can Data Science make a difference?
How will the development of Data Science impact the delivery of health care? There is a panoply of areas in which a better use of patient and clinical data can make a measurable impact on the industry. Because administrative costs make up about 15% of all healthcare expenditures- providing better patient and physician level data allow clinicians make quicker and more cost-efficient choices. The National Healthcare Anti-Fraud Association estimates the loss to health care fraud in the US alone to be about $80 billion annually, yet current data practices recover less than 5 percent of these losses are recovered.[v] Most importantly, data science can facilitate the transition for “cost care” to “health care” by allowing the industry to identify at-risk patients and encourage them to make lifestyle changes to their future well-being.
In an increasingly competitive healthcare market, eighty-nine percent of industrial executives interviewed by Accenture believe that implementing big data analytics will be the key to maintaining market share.[vi] Partnerships between the medical providers and the pharmaceutical profession, like DataSphere, HealthConnect, and PPC/HealthCore, have provided frameworks for the future of Health Analytics. European and national initiatives, including the Directive 2011/24/EU and the national health card scheme in France are already providing tremendous amounts of data on industry costs, practices across demographics. Local attempts to pool resources in the form of “groupements médicaux territoriaux” have allowed local practitioners to share resources, knowledge, and best practices.
Where are the opportunities for Data Scientists?
The boom of the Quantified Self movement is also fueling the market. Constant streams of Little Data on individuals physical and mental states from a multitude of connected devices capture the quality of our mindfulness, exercise, and diet. The proponents of the Quantified Self claim that this data can potentially improve the quality of our sleep, the way work, and the way we play. Applications of Little Data, like those of Asthmapolis, Quadio, and Zepher are particularly promising both for populations who face specific health challenges (allergies, asthma, heart conditions, etc.), as well as athletes looking for a competitive edge.