Artificial Intelligence in medical science: Fact or fiction? Part 2 - Consumerization of data

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Deepika Goel

Vice President, Head of Healthcare and Life Sciences at Analytics Practice

July 15, 2017 - In our previous blog, we touched upon how technological evolutions are shifting gears from “organization only" to “organization + consumers" and more recently to “consumers only" innovations and this is what is disrupting the production of data from all spheres. Agreed, lower cost of storage is one of the enablers, but explosion of big data happened not because enterprise systems suddenly started having huge volumes of data but it was individuals like you and me who started producing data through our chats, images, web crawls, articles, blogs, white papers, emails, interactions, social media conversations, posts etc. The volume of data produced by us is far exceeding the volume of data produced by systems, organizations, enterprise databases and this is causing “big data explosion" or “consumerization of data." 

Big data explosion or consumerization of data


Within medical sciences, the eruption of big data is being led by both organizations and consumers. Consider this; NHS adds 19mn inpatient records, 90mn outpatient records, and 18mn accident and emergency records to its databases every year. Wearables market is estimated to cross $50bn by 2021 – enabling collection of the tremendous amount of patient data on a real-time basis. Apple Store alone has more than 10,000 apps actively used by millions of patients that are again producing patient attribute level data, on a constant basis. But, what has all this medical data that's constantly getting generated got to do with AI?

Every single organization wants to understand your likes, your preferences, your health, how happy you are and hence trying to predict your future through what will you buy, when you will fall ill, what will be your next holiday destination etc. Data scientists are trying to visualize your individualized patterns from volumes of data that you generate each time.

However, the mind has its own limitations and there is only so much that it can process. Imagine a doctor namely “X", he specializes in a certain therapeutic area and over past 20 years has treated thousands of patients suffering from this disease. When it comes to individual patients, “X" would be able to interpret the data generated by systems like lab test reports, scans, and any comorbidity to arrive at the prescription; however, what “X" will miss out is the huge volume of data produced outside of system in terms of patient's lifestyle - eating patterns, exercise regime, sleeping hours, research papers, new developments in the industry etc. which play a huge role in the effectiveness of his treatment.

All of this consumerization of data is captured through smart watches, calorie meters, health apps, websites, forums that are constantly getting updated as we speak. So, do you think, doctor “X" can really interpret all this and arrive at something called most personalized treatment for his patient or would consumerization of data will give birth to artificial intelligence that will have the super power to interpret these huge volumes of data?

Watch out for the last blog in this series that will answer our pertinent question on “Artificial Intelligence in medical science - real or reel."