by Robert Wolverton –
Big Data. It’s a term that’s been around for quite a while. You hear about it all the time. And if you’re like a lot of people, you might think of Big Data as sort of a ‘pie in the sky’ concept—sounds great, promises a lot, but you never really seem to experience any direct benefits from it.
Your reluctance to become excited about Big Data is understandable because there has certainly been lots of Big Hype associated with the concept of Big Data in recent years. But the impact of Big Data is about to become very real and personal—to you.
Quick: What Are Your Key Vital Signs RIGHT NOW?
If some nosy person asked, could you tell them your blood pressure right now, this very moment? How about your heart rate? Your respiration rate?
Unless you’re currently lying in a hospital bed hooked up to all the monitoring equipment, the answer, of course, is no. You don’t know what your vital signs are right now.
But if you did know your vital signs all the time, if you could track, record, and monitor them 24-7, massive amounts of information would be revealed about your health. No matter the state of your health, this knowledge would empower you to take strides in improving your health over the long term, or even to prevent certain health problems from ever occurring.
If you suffer from a chronic illness (hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, etc.), having a detailed track record of your vital measurements, and learning what impacts those measurements for the better or worse, could substantially benefit your health. This knowledge would help you to make good choices that would support improvements to your health and help you to avoid poor choices that could exacerbate your illness.
Even if you’re currently in good health, 24-7 knowledge of your vitals could positively impact your long-term health. Most likely your vitals are only measured and recorded during occasional visits with your doctor. But those rare and random peeks at your vitals are rather like looking at an iceberg floating on the ocean: there’s so much more than what you see. And it’s important to see the whole of that iceberg to develop a true understanding of the state of your health. That’s the only way, in fact, to learn what’s normal for you in terms of vital measurements. (It’s a common misconception that a standard ‘normal’ applies to everyone; this is especially true of blood pressure.)
The benefits of 24-7 health monitoring will soon be available to everyone. Medical technology utilizing Big Data will make measurements and recordings of blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen level, and other vitals available to everyone, all the time.
The impact to your health is likely to be very profound, and very beneficial.
We’ve Come a Long Way From “An Apple a Day…”
For most of human history, we’ve managed our health in the blind. Even in this age of astounding medical advancements, we know little about what’s happening with our health at all times. We see only that “tip of the iceberg” on the rare occasions that our vitals are measured. It’s not a stretch to say that we know more about the surface of the moon than what’s going on in each of our bodies at any given time.
But thanks to MedTech and Big Data, we’ll soon know exactly what’s happening with our bodies all the time. And with that knowledge we’ll be able to:
- Modify behaviors to optimize health
- Avoid unnecessary treatments/medications
- Head-off emergency events before they become emergencies
- Manage chronic conditions with absolute precision
- Slash medical costs for individuals and insurance companies
You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
An old 70s song told us that “you ain’t seen nothing yet,” and promised to show us something that we’re “never gonna forget.” The age of Big Data is just beginning, and we really haven’t seen much yet. But we’re about to.
An RCG Global Services partner, Sensogram Technologies, Inc., is combining Big Data with MedTech. One of Sensogram’s products, SensoSCAN®, is a rechargeable device that tracks and captures heart rate, blood oxygen level, respiration rate, and blood pressure continuously—without wearing a cuff.
RCG is working with Sensogram to integrate this real-time stream of Big Data into the RCG|enable™ Healthcare solution, a fully developed application that combines healthcare-related data from more than 25 different sources.
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Though much of what you’ve heard about Big Data has been hype, there’s nothing ‘hypey’ about living healthier and longer—and that’s just one of the real benefits of Big Data brought to us by companies like Sensogram Technologies. Combine this Big Data benefit with the concepts outlined in one of my previous blog posts, and you’ll begin to get a glimpse into the future of individualized healthcare.
You won’t be going to your doctor any longer for annual checkups. Instead, you’ll be on a healthcare monitoring service (rather like a home security monitoring service), and your doctor will call you when the computer that’s monitoring your health triggers an alert about a problem that it “sees” coming.
If your doctor calls and directs you to a cardiologist just moments before a heart attack would have occurred, it’s quite certain that you’re “never gonna forget” that Big Data just saved your life!