Nightingale: The Big Story on Big Data

Managing Healthcare Is Overwhelming

Healthcare professionals must reconcile years of education and training with overwhelming amounts of incomplete data. Patients, on the other hand, often have to juggle their conditions with questions and fears, while providing their clinicians with as much information as possible.

On top of that, patients don’t generally see only one doctor. They see specialists, get second opinions, see nurse practitioners in the emergency room, or have to switch providers. The network of providers for just one patient can be complex, which makes managing patient data difficult.

Technology Stepped In To Help

In the early 1990s, technology enabled the creation of electronic health records, or EHR. While using computers to maintain patient records wasn’t new, more medical providers embraced EHR during the 1990s and in the years since. Today, clinicians rely on  a hybrid of paper and electronic records.

Electronic health records provide a number of benefits. They contain a patient’s:

  • Medical history
  • Diagnoses
  • Medications
  • Treatment plans
  • Immunization dates
  • Allergies
  • Radiology images
  • Laboratory and test results

Additionally, they “allow access to evidence-based tools that providers can use to make decisions about a patient’s care” and “automate and streamline provider workflow,” according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology 

EHR provides three additional advantages, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. They:

  • Lower the incidence of medical error by improving the accuracy and clarity of medical records
  • Make health information available, which prevents delays in treatment and helps medical staff avoid duplicating tests.
  • Keep patients better informed so they can make informed decisions

Big Data Supplemented Patient Records

Within a couple decades, big data entered the medical space. The internet, wearables, the internet of things (IoT), and other sources of data suddenly created a goldmine of patient information.

Then the juggernaut itself, Google, got into the game. In one step, the company acquired Fitbit, a fitness tracker. Then it partnered with Ascension Health to collect and analyze the personal-health data of millions of people in 21 states. Of course, Google wasn’t the only large technology company to pay attention to the big data in healthcare: Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are also key players.

While the entry of tech companies into healthcare raises privacy concerns, the potential benefits are exciting. Nicole Lindsey of CPO Magazine reports that big data could potentially “help improve diagnostic and testing options available to physicians.” For example, Google has programmed artificial intelligence to “assess the risk of heart disease from an eye scan, and used health data sets to predict the risk of premature death.”

Big Data, However, Doesn’t Tell The Full Story For Patients

Imagine this scenario: You’re laying in bed after a long, stressful day. Suddenly, your upper body contorts in pain. Your heart pounds. Then, as quickly as it hit, the pain subsides and your heart rate feels like it returns to normal.

You don’t tell your healthcare providers about the episode, so they don’t enter information about it in your EHR. Your wearable doesn’t register any issues with your heart rate. But you felt something; it was real. So you do what everyone does and fire up Google on your phone.

When you type “is heart attack” into Google, it autocompletes with several options:

  • Is it a heart attack
  • Is it heartburn or heart attack
  • Is it a heart attack or anxiety
  • Is it indigestion or a heart attack
  • Is heart attack a disease
  • Is heart attack pain constant
  • Is heart attack painful

This Is Where Brado Comes In

Patients lie to their doctors. In surveys, 60 to 80 percent of people have withheld relevant information about their health from their physicians. But they don’t lie to Google.

At Brado, we use advanced tools and proprietary software to discover what patients anxiously type into Google’s search field when their body hurts or does something unexpected. What patients are too embarrassed to ask their doctors. The fears that keep them up at night.  

But the data doesn’t tell the whole story. We understand that providers give better service when they understand the people they serve. So our teams combine search data with information from focus groups, interviews, and other sources to add empathy to the equation. Then we compile our knowledge to help healthcare providers understand what patients need to know, but may be too afraid or embarrassed to ask.

Brado’s goal is to transform lives. We do that by harnessing the power of data combined with empathy to benefit patients. With the insights we uncover, our clients:

  • Create targeted content to answer the questions patients don’t feel they can ask their providers
  • Make it easy for patients to find the information they need
  • Strategize marketing efforts that connect people with providers and treatments

This video shares more about our vision for our clients and their relationships with their patients. By combining our team’s expertise with yours, we can help you help your patients.

Marc Chechik

Marc Chechik serves dual roles as a Creative Strategist and Content Lead at Brado. A former ad agency creative director, Marc has written and produced campaigns for some of the world’s most iconic brands, including Jack Daniel’s, Grey Goose, AT&T, Volkswagen and Spectrum. He has also helped guide strategic and creative efforts for smaller, entrepreneurial brands like Better Life cleaning products, nationally, and KDHX-FM radio in St. Louis. An adjunct professor at Webster University for 11 years, Marc has taught writing, strategy and radio production and co-founded Undertow Music, an independent record label. Marc has a degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and lives with his wife, Kat; their dog, Sugar; and a loud, silly sun conure named Edie.

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