The road to better health outcomes | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 27, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:38 PM, November 27, 2017

The road to better health outcomes

Restructuring the healthcare system in Bangladesh using Big Data

The healthcare industry has truly made strides in terms of information, record-keeping, administrative prerequisites, and patient care. The most recent decade has also seen real advances in the measure of data that is routinely generated and gathered in almost everything including human behaviour and technology. These patterns have together brought about the development of the field of Big Data.

Big Data is a term that is utilised to depict vast volumes of data. This data may be unstructured or structured. Both private and public companies are making use of Big Data to meet their organisational objectives. Big Data analytics likewise assumes an indispensable role for small or medium size enterprises. Today, numerous organisations assemble and analyse immense amounts of data, i.e. Big Data, because of its volume, velocity, variety and veracity.

Big Data analytics is no doubt profitting many industries such as the automotive industry, industrial engineering, retail, healthcare, financial services, entertainment, and so forth. Big Data is helping these industries identify their weaknesses and take measures accordingly.

In the brief span since its inception, Big Data has taken the world by storm, impacting every arena, from healthcare to engineering, enhancing productivity and creating an environment conducive to innovation and technological advancement.

Because of the crucial role of information and communication technology (ICT) in healthcare today, one cannot ignore the potential of Big Data in healthcare. It can serve to enhance the frameworks and decrease the risk of medical blunders, leading to the wellbeing of people and communities—especially now that we have access to the newest tools needed to store and collect data. ICT-centred components are collectively known as eHealth.

Big data analytics in healthcare is generally an arrangement of strategies, methodology, structures, and advances that are utilised to change raw data into significant and meaningful data. These sets of data are then used to settle on decision-making tasks—be it tactical, strategic or operational.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, Bangladesh is set to become the 28th largest economy by 2030. The country has been making huge advancements as of late. However, in spite of better economic and social indicators (for example, decrease in death rates and increase in per capita income), the healthcare industry is yet to reach its full potential. Indeed, millions in Bangladesh do not have access to “minimum secondary and tertiary level medical care.” Be that as it may, smart reforms headed by the government may transform the fate of the healthcare industry.

Big Data analytics in the Bangladeshi healthcare sector is developing into a promising field to gain knowledge from, through extensive data sets, leading to enhanced, more reliable results, as well as decreasing costs. In addition, data analysis would also help healthcare services suppliers to better understand the demographics of the population and illnesses. As such, data analysis can actually help make the healthcare industry be more responsible. The data-sharing system increases efficiency and diminishes the overlapping of information.

Additionally, Big Data can help in the selection of the medications that are required for every patient. The arrangement of prior treatment can decrease the health costs and can wipe out the danger of chronic diseases. Consequently, by using diverse analytical methodologies including data mining and text mining procedures, health pattern or trend examination and extensive patient management can all be made simpler utilising Big Data analytics.

Although there is immense potential of Big Data, there remain difficulties to overcome. Huge data frameworks require data analysts and data scientists who have the experience to design and analyse the data so that it can be put to good use. Given the circumstances, Bangladesh lacks the skilled manpower—data scientists—who have the capabilities to actually undertake such complex research.

Big Data analytics can change the way healthcare providers in Bangladesh utilise sophisticated technologies to gather knowledge or insight from their clinical and other data storehouses and come up with informed and appropriate decisions. Big Data is the most recent development in the field of data management framework. In the interim, the technological headway is quickly moving ahead towards the usage of Big Data analytics. The healthcare industry in the country, sooner or later, will see the many benefits of using Big Data analytics. And as such, our policymakers and leaders in the healthcare industry ought to think seriously about the potential of Big Data analytics in Bangladesh's healthcare industry, which can in the future enhance national wellbeing by providing better services to the people of the country. Big Data analytics and applications in the Bangladeshi healthcare industry are at an early phase, quick advances in platforms and tools can pick up the pace of advancement.

Ahmed Imran Kabir and Ridoan Karim are PhD candidates at the University of Malaya, Malaysia.

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