Chapter 7. Transforming Health Care

It should go without saying that health care is a priority, and data analysis can help with the many serious challenges associated with this crucial industry.

Demographics and the Need for Connected Health

Maintaining good health and having access to medical care are among the most important things in life. Access means both the availability of the appropriate medical care and the ability to afford to pay for it. Collectively, managing health care is a very large problem that consumes lots of resources. Figures 7-1 and 7-2 show how much is spent and the per capita trend of spending on health care.

This is the current state, and the size of the problem will continue to grow. There are four key issues driving the need for dramatic improvements in how we manage health care:

  • Our population is aging and we are living longer

  • There is a growing shortage of physicians

  • We have an increasing need to manage chronic diseases

  • Reducing, or at least keeping in check, healthcare costs

Healthcare spending as a percent of GDP
Figure 7-1. Healthcare spending as a percent of GDP1
Healthcare spending per capita
Figure 7-2. Healthcare spending per capita2

We review each of these issues, and then discuss how the coming Age of Connected Computing aids in addressing them. However, before we begin, it is important to understand the ...

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