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How Big Data Enhances Care Delivery

Data plays a significant role in healthcare, as collecting data is essential to health assessments. But where does that data go? How can a large amount of data, or big data, benefit overall patient care?

GlobeNewswire states that big data analytics “enhances population health and integrates performance modeling with economic and predictive care monitoring and other processes to improve process-oriented expenses in the healthcare sector.”

While big data informs strategies, it is not available to just anyone. Data stored within a healthcare organization remains confidential to protect patients’ privacy. In an online Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, students learn the ethical and legal aspects of nursing practice and gain the foundational knowledge and skills needed to adapt to advances in healthcare technology, such as big data.

The Many Opportunities for Big Data in Healthcare

Big data analytics enhances the care delivery process for multiple reasons. For example, it provides quick and easy access to information — typically in a matter of seconds. However, what follows that access takes many forms.

According to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), “When it comes to operations, big data in healthcare helps with analyzing workforce needs, financials and directing resources. For patient care, clinicians can provide better care for high-risk patients through tracking symptoms and creating preventative care programs.”

Big data now allows all patient information to exist in one place, making it easier for nurses to look up data that pertains to a specific individual. So, instead of making a broad assessment, nurses have everything required to assess the patient based on their unique needs.

Having this access also ensures nurses have more time to spend with the patient and focus on the patient’s care because they are not wasting time compiling information that already exists (and has been recorded). Additionally, readily available data helps nurses understand which medications patients are prescribed and their dosages. For example, they may realize a patient is taking medications that counteract one another.

In addition, patients can often input their own data and set up appointments through a patient portal. This access makes it easier for them to speak with a healthcare provider and ensures they will be seen promptly. With this “self-service” approach, technology has made things easier for all parties involved.

At times, data can predict specific outcomes or occurrences among patients. It may even help determine if they will suffer from a future ailment. With such predictions, nurses can quickly take control of the situation and prevent potential health issues.

Impact on Nurses

An article hosted by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) explains that healthcare professionals can “benefit from an incredibly large amount of data. Recent reports suggest that US healthcare systems alone stored around a total of 150 exabytes of data in 2011 with the perspective to reach the yottabyte.”

While these figures may seem overwhelming, it is important to remember that nurses and other healthcare professionals can access only the data they need. That may be while they are with a patient or on a larger scale if they are working to implement change in their healthcare organization or national health policy.

The article also states that nurses and other healthcare professionals can use data to “reveal entirely new approaches to improve health by providing insights into the causes and outcomes of disease, better drug targets for precision medicine, and enhanced disease prediction and prevention.” With data at their fingertips, nurses have an opportunity to improve overall wellness on the individual, community and global scales.

In addition, with the implementation of new data technology, many healthcare facilities can switch from a pay-for-service model to a value-based care model. The new model ensures all patients can afford their treatment, regardless of their circumstances.

Using data also leads to a more compassionate and evidence-based approach toward patient treatment. More technology equates to more research opportunities in evidence-based practice (EBP).

Enhance Your Patient Care Abilities With a Bachelor’s Degree

One way to enhance your patient care abilities as a nurse is to further your career and earn your BSN. Those who enroll in the CCNE-accredited online RN to BSN program at the University of South Carolina Aiken will build their practice, elevate their career and prepare for new opportunities and responsibilities in nursing.

Students will assess prevention and health promotion principles when providing care to individuals, families and communities. With the program’s accelerated nature, students can achieve this in as few as 12 months.

Each future nursing graduate will obtain the knowledge required to enter influential healthcare roles, such as quality assurance coordinator, nursing director, clinical research nurse, public health nurse or case management nurse.

Learn more about USC Aiken’s online RN to BSN program.

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