In cardiology, Big Data covers the ‘whole’ patient
Jeroen Tas, CEO Healthcare Informatics Solutions and Services,
29 August 2014
This week’s ESC Congress in Barcelona has a lot of people
buzzing about the latest innovation and research in the field of
cardiology. From my vantage point, I’m most excited to see how Big
Data is being put to work to change the face of cardiac care.
more than ever, the industry is in a position to use data to fully
understand and care for “the whole patient” in cardiology — from
prevention and screening to treatment to recovery and wellness.
- We can finally factor it all in — Cardiology care involves so
many variables, from family history to lifestyle choices to
medication adherence. Images and scans, informatics and EMR data are
obviously critical, but Big Data enables us to aggregate those along
with patient-reported symptoms, genomic data and behavioural
Viewed in isolation, those pieces are helpful, but
viewed together, they enable clinicians to better design customized
treatment plans for each patient, and draw associations and insights
across populations of patients with similar characteristics.
- We can stay more connected to the patient — and know them well. Someone said that the blockbuster drug of the century will be
patient engagement. Consumer industries are obviously very good at
this in terms of predicting what products people will buy next –
from their Amazon purchases, Spotify selections and Facebook
interactions. What’s new is the scale with which we can apply data
in a similar way to encourage patient engagement.
Big Data enables
us to track, categorize and understand patient behaviours, discipline
to adhere to treatment plans, likes, dislikes, support from friends,
families, caregivers, motivations, etc. In cardiology especially,
this is critical. With the right algorithms that look at multiple
factors and vital signs simultaneously, we can see deterioration and
take action to avoid acute situations.
- We can act faster, be preventive and empower doctors — cardiologists are often fighting the clock, especially when it
comes to AMIs, and spend a lot of time measuring after a cardiac
Big Data will enable clinicians to access continuous streams
of data for complete, ongoing pictures of their patients. The
technology only recently came to the point where monitoring is no
longer just weight scales and blood pressure cuffs, but full
continuous monitoring including data from devices like mobile and
Wearables and other devices can communicate with
cardiologists. Then, we can compare that data across patient
populations, and through predictive analysis, gather insight into
early warning signs and indicators, like deterioration ratings. So
the result is that Big Data ultimately creates a more satisfying
role for the physician. With more information to avoid cardiac
events before they occur, cardiologists can shift from treatment to
Today, most cardiologists around the world are stretched thin,
trying to keep up with rise of heart disease and working to do more
with less. At the same time, the number of clinicians is declining.
Big data can help fill that gap. As everyone walks the halls of ESC
this week, I hope to see signs of moving toward a connected
cardiology world, where both patients and clinicians can reap the
benefits of Big Data.
Information on the ESC 2014 Congress can be found at:
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