Will Big Data Make Healthcare More Customer-Centric?

When the engineers and big data experts at Rock West Solutions take on a new healthcare project, it is typically intended to improve medical diagnoses, make better use of patient data, or something similar. Their big data projects are aimed at improving the way healthcare is delivered. Could their efforts be leading to something more? Could big data eventually make healthcare a more customer-centric industry?

There are plenty of people within the healthcare sector that cringe at the thought of treating patients as customers. Equally cringeworthy are discussions of turning healthcare delivery into a customer-focused enterprise. After all, healthcare isn’t entertainment. It deals with life-and-death matters.

Like it or not, the reality is that healthcare is still a business in the United States. And if any business is to succeed, it must treat its customers well. This reality is the driving force behind the concept of making healthcare more customer-centric.

Improving the Patient Experience

A recent report just released by Forrester takes a look at technology predictions for the healthcare sector in 2019. At the core of the report is the concept of improving the patient experience across all of healthcare. Check out this quote from the report:

“HCOs need to develop raving fans to survive, as all sectors face the entrance of new disruptors looking to own more of the customer journey. They must build digital experiences, including virtual care, based on an understanding of the customer’s evolving needs. Great customer experiences will be crucial to drive loyalty and revenue.”

Healthcare’s antiquated ways of dealing with patients leave far too many people dissatisfied with how medical services are delivered. If you have ever sat in a packed waiting room for an hour just to see your doctor, you know the score.

Forrester says that healthcare providers and companies like Rock West Solutions will spend 2019 looking for and developing new ways to use big data, data extraction, and analytics to make the patient experience better. Forrester suggests a greater emergence of virtual care and better online systems that engage patients the same way nearly every other industry already does.

Data-Driven Medicine

Reading through the Forrester report reveals an even more important trend: transforming healthcare from an industry driven by medical staff decisions and C-suite executives to one driven by data. The prediction makes a lot of sense if you look at how big data has transformed other industries.

Amazon, Google, and Facebook – three of the largest and most prolific companies in the world – owe virtually all their success to data. Brilliant minds at all three companies have figured out ways to extract data, analyze it, and use it to build huge audiences consisting of happy customers. Forrester says healthcare will be moving in that direction in 2019.

Data-driven medicine promises to improve the patient experience by giving patients a more interactive role in determining everything from appointment times to therapeutic options. It promises to improve outcomes by making better use of predictive analysis for preventing sickness and disease.

In the area of medical diagnostics, data-driven strategies have already generated positive results. As Rock West Solutions can attest, medical diagnostics has grown in leaps and bounds since big data was introduced. Data-driven medicine promises to make diagnostics even better in the years ahead.

A Total Transformation

Forrester’s predictions are nothing short of a total transformation of U.S. healthcare. That transformation will not happen in a single calendar year, but it should be accelerated quite a bit in the next 12 months. Like it or not, medicine will become more customer-centric as it becomes more data-driven.