Health Care Outside of the Box

How enterprise-grade data management creates better and more efficient care.

In the last few years, the acceptance of telehealth has become more widespread as patients and providers found they could maintain continuity through phone and video collaboration, instead of in-person visits. In many cases, a level of care that once required a drive to the clinic or hospital could be delivered over a mobile phone or laptop, with no travel and no waiting room. This evolution of healthcare has set the stage for a new social acceptance of technology as a medium for healthcare delivery and remotely collected data as a key component to diagnosis. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg for the future of data-driven healthcare.  

Thinking outside of the box

Recently I read an excellent article in de Volkskrant about a gentleman in the Netherlands whose aging father suffers from mild dementia in London. Relocation wasn’t possible, so he installed cameras, shared access computer capabilities, phone screening services, and microphones in his father’s home in London. All of this with the purpose of monitoring, supporting, and communicating with his father remotely, over 500 kilometers away. 

Besides monitoring for health and behavioral risks, he was able to monitor his father’s financial risk as seniors tend to be a regular target for financial fraud through phishing and other tactics.

Although his father had to get used to the resulting loss of privacy, he accepted the oversight since it mitigated some of his son’s worries. This has allowed them to stay in near constant contact and communication, and the son has access to critical data, even though they live in different countries. 

Staying home longer

Although not always the perfect solution, technology is enabling seniors to live in their own homes longer than before. Like in the story above, it can help loved ones keep track of at-risk family members, and it reduces some of the increasing demands put on professional caregivers.  

The healthcare tech industry is taking strides to further enable seniors and people with health issues to maintain independent lives where they want, for longer, through connected devices that provide real-time or near real-time data for alerts or diagnosis.

Some of the emerging technologies include: 

        Medical devices for remote monitoring of biological conditions

        Slip and fall/location and movement sensors

        Biomarker detection sensors for cancer

        Smart devices such as plugs, lights, locks, stoves, and refrigerators

With the help of these and other emerging technologies, people can stay in their homes longer and be monitored to get the right care when they need it.

But what about privacy?

All of this technology does require some serious thinking and discussion about privacy; the peace of mind of constant monitoring comes at a price. If possible, this should be discussed openly and honestly with family members, caregivers, and care receivers. A simple Google search will show that there are many suggestions from elderly homes, care centers, medical practices, law firms, and associations for seniors that address how to have these conversations.

Ideally, all the data gathered from these devices is not only received by a primary caregiver but also by relevant medical and other urgent care providers (alarm services, etc.). The patient is constantly being assessed for health issues, and immediate action can be taken when needed. 

This information benefits the whole health ecosystem: care receivers get personalized help, caregivers are more informed and involved, and family members worry less. Medical and care professionals get faster and more complete information on the patient’s needs while medical systems and health insurers can analyze summarized data to predict care needs and prioritize services and spending around prevention and care. 

Enterprise data management for enhanced care

To accomplish this will require enterprise-grade data management with the ability to take in different types of data from different sources, combine these in a coherent picture of the “patient,” analyze them in real time for urgent situations, and send the outcomes to a workflow so action gets taken. All while guaranteeing privacy and compliance with the many laws and regulations covering these types of data. 

We at Cloudera offer these capabilities in our CDP data platform. It is gratifying to see Cloudera customers embark on this journey. Data truly is the lifeline of society. Let’s nurture it. We would love to discuss with you  how we can support you in your data driven healthcare initiatives. Please reach out to me at

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