Big data is a huge part of industry today. Data has, in its own way, become something of a currency in its own right. Companies now rely on the combination of big data sets and machine learning/automation to plot their next big moves and to gauge the reactions from consumers and clients to their industry decisions.
There really isn’t an industry around which hasn’t been impacted by data and its power. As a new tool, there is a lot we don’t know about its potential.
Regulations have only really just started being put in place to try and control the flow of data to and from companies. As an exciting and fresh industry, it is natural that there are a lot of new companies looking to get involved and see what success they can find.
Healthcare is a sector which relies heavily on data and relay of information, so naturally there are lots of companies springing up to take advantage of the boom. Let’s take a look at some of those companies and what they hope to achieve in the healthcare industry by using the tool of big data.
Coming out of the UK, Babylon Health is using technology to connect patients with medical providers. Specifically, Babylon Health aims to connect people through the use of an automated AI chatbot which can diagnose based on the massive amount of data that it can process. The idea will likely alleviate the strain on demand for General Practitioners in the UK, but the idea will likely find itself spreading all across the world. When it comes to AI, data is key since it can only learn what to diagnose by consuming previous recorded experiences.
Diagnosis of cancer based on scans is much less simple than the movies make it look. When a copy of an MRI or CT scan gets looked at by a doctor there isn’t an immediate yes or no, it’s very often a judgement call made by an expert with a history of identifying cancer. If data from previous diagnoses is fed through Arterys’ automated machine learning computer program, it will be able to spot trends.
Flatiron Health is the talk of the healthcare start-up town, with a huge fundraising campaign that has gone successfully. Again, Flatiron focuses on cancer, with an ethos that the whole oncological world will better handle the immense stress of fighting cancer if they can do it united. Uniting forces is more about uniting data, which Flatiron hope to do, then analyzing that data, which is largely in the form of electronic health records and then passing on the results of their data research to speed up and improve the care available to cancer sufferers all across the world.
Feebris is another company coming out of the UK which develops a technologically optimized diagnosis service. In this instance their service comes in the form of a smartphone app, particularly aimed at delivering diagnoses to the young and aged by combining their app with wearables like stethoscopes and heartbeat monitors. They use data driven predictions to give timely diagnoses to those vulnerable to particular illnesses such as pneumonia. They’re only just getting going and have already caused a buzz, so they are very much ones worth looking out for in the future as their tech develops.
There is an epidemic in the UK of wasted doctors’ appointments. With their nationalized health care system, the burden to the NHS of having doctors waiting in their offices for patients who never arrive can be huge. It’s a given that they would rather that those slots were filled, even if it is by someone other than the original patient. This is where DrDoctor steps in, providing an app which allows people to capitalize on those last-minute no-shows and cancellations, saving money, time and, potentially, the lives of hundreds. The data is provided to the app by the NHS.
Evidation Health aims to track the un-trackable, by offering software which seeks to find a way to connect everyday behaviors to quantifiable health benefits and detriments. We take it for granted but bad health and good health is connected in most cases to the way we behave as people on a daily basis, something which it can be very hard to monitor.
Another heavy hitter, Sword Health is a company who are really pushing the boundaries of what is possible through data and through AI powered machinery. Their field relates specifically to physical therapy and is founded on the idea that human specialists, who are at a premium in this medical field as in others, due to high bar for entry, have too much on their plates and need technological aids in administering healthcare. Physical therapy is important, but in most cases a mishap is unlikely to result in serious consequences which makes it a great place to start. Their technology allows physical therapists to develop programs for patients which are extensive, but which can be administered by the patient themselves. They wear a tracker which monitors what they have done to ensure that they carry out their therapy correctly. More people get helped by using data on methods of therapy.
Healthcare is a vital industry filled with people doing their best to help but with so little time to help their patients. Start-ups like the ones above allow medical professionals to take some respite in the comfort of highly advanced technology. It sounds like science fiction, but data-powered health solutions are the future and the present.
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