Hospitals and private surgical ambulatories must compile a great deal of information daily. Everything from patient records to insurance forms must be collected and filed to ensure compliance with various laws. Primary care providers often need to research these records to avoid putting patients through tests a second time. Fortunately, medical data mining has begun to radically change the way this filing process takes place.
Media outlets have traditionally painted data mining in a negative light. It’s usually associated more with spam than with anything having to do with legitimate business ventures. However, computer scientists are now finding new positive uses for this often-maligned technology that are really turning heads.
Document repositories have long held collections of medical documents that are seldom seen after they’re stored. Medical data mining software can automatically sift through these virtual storage facilities and find individual strings of text in a document. While this might sound impressive at first, it’s extremely empowering to physicians who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access certain types of information/
For instance, say a pharmacist needed to see everyone who was on a certain prescription without compromising their privacy. They could simply look through a database that was already assembled for that specific information. The algorithm would only tell them the number of times that a specific string appeared in patient files without compromising anyone’s personal private information.
Recent legislative challenges have made keeping tabs on patients more difficult. Medical data mining software can also search through records for inadvertent privacy breaches and help correct them before they become an issue. Since this means a reduction in overhead and administrative costs for hospitals, it can translate into a lower cost of care overall.
Continued developments in the field should help to further streamline the healthcare industry, making healthcare operations run more smoothly.
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