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What Role Does Data Play in Enabling Healthcare 5.0?

Hospitals generate nearly 50 petabytes of data annually, yet 97% of it remains unused. Can Healthcare 5.0 change this?

Dr. Ofer Markman
April 10, 2024

Healthcare 4.0 represents the digital transformation of healthcare, with data playing a pivotal role. It enables real-time personalized care, shifting the focus from hospital-centered to patient-centered systems. Data analytics and AI are employed to interpret vast amounts of healthcare and life sciences data, leading to improved diagnostics and patient outcomes. However, aligning existing medical and life sciences software with this paradigm presents a challenge.

In today’s world, an average hospital generates approximately 50 petabytes of data annually. A significant portion of this data originates from the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), which necessitates high network availability for real-time access to crucial patient records, medical images, and vital information, thereby saving lives in critical situations. The medical and life sciences sectors will inevitably rely on IoT and AI to enhance patient-centric outcomes, generating massive amounts of data that need to be accessed swiftly, cost-effectively, and securely.

In the current era of Healthcare 4.0, medical IT professionals increasingly depend on IoMT technologies. However, not all patients and healthcare facilities have robust and consistent access to the bandwidth required to support modern, often digital and data-heavy, administration of care. As data continues to accumulate, IoMT technologies may struggle to meet cost and bandwidth demands, potentially widening the medical digital divide. Can addressing data itself help close this divide?

Can faster data transmission help bridge the medical digital divide?

Approximately 2500 communities around the globe are difficult to reach. These communities could benefit from extensive portable health diagnostic tools, which are particularly crucial considering that about 4.5 billion people currently lack adequate access to essential healthcare services. These tools facilitate real-time consultations, enabling doctors to diagnose and treat patients virtually. This is a significant advantage for patients in remote areas or those with mobility constraints, as they can access quality healthcare services without the need for physical travel.

For a hospital, a minimum of 100 Mbps is recommended. However, a 2022 study on West Texas revealed that only 57 percent of rural hospitals had at least one provider of fixed broadband delivering service at 100 Mbps or greater downstream speed. This leaves 43 percent of these hospitals without broadband at this critical downstream speed.  

File and data compression could potentially play a role in mitigating this broadband gap, particularly in bridging the medical digital divide. They might help manage large volumes of data, facilitate faster data transmission, reduce storage costs, and improve system performance. This could be especially relevant in healthcare applications that generate large amounts of data and in telemedicine services where efficient data transmission is crucial. However, the extent of their impact would depend on various factors such as the specific healthcare context, the nature of the data involved, and the available infrastructure.

Advancing to Healthcare 5.0

A significant 97% of hospital data remains unused annually, underscoring the importance of effective data collection and management strategies. The advent of Healthcare 5.0 is expected to prioritize predictive, preventative, personalized, and participatory patient care. This approach will utilize a continuous stream of data encompassing patients’ vital signs, lifestyle behaviors, and social factors to enhance the prediction and prevention of health risks. This data will be accessed faster, more reliably, and with greater cost efficiency.

In anticipation of this transition, top-performing healthcare IT professionals are reassessing their data governance policies to include a comprehensive plan that addresses data storage and networking, in a bid to further close the medical digital divide. As we approach this new era, it’s not just about adapting, but leading. The future of healthcare data is due for an imminent transformation that requires our active involvement.

The pivotal question isn’t whether the industry can change, but whether it can afford not to, given the potential impact on patient outcomes, the medical digital divide, and the escalating costs associated with data management.

🤝This article was co-authored with Dan Shalev and Alexandra Podporina

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Dr. Ofer Markman

Filo Systems' Co-founder and VP Business Development

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