Sunday, 18 February 2018

Wellness Trends for 2018

The passion for fitness is here to stay forever, so it is natural for us to extend our personal capabilities and make room for more and more of it- which includes wellness this time. Enter the super cool world of wellness and fitness which is no mean business and is only meant to serve you holistically, sensuously and in the zeal of good health. People are familiar with the underlying factors of fitness like good health, sustainable health and the various means to achieve them. They don’t need another gym trick to get that fit body. Now, they need better means to achieve the same level of fitness, so the natural re-routing will happen through wellness which is as much about the physical rejuvenation as it is about the mental relaxation. Without the mental nodes, there is no physical revitalization too. Both need each other and so do we need them now.

So, here is how people will correlate good health and fitness with wellness in 2018.

Wellness Travel

We were travelling for wellness and now, we will plan a wellness holiday to go deep within. There are the best retreats which work closely and personally with each guest and give them accommodation to mingle with nature and the self. There are absolute serenity and solace with a hill journey and if your direct spot is a wellness resort, it cannot get any more personally inquisitive.
The best wellness retreats offer their guest the extreme luxury of indulgence with personalized treatments, personalised menu, personalised wellness routine, thus a perfect wellness vacation. It is the preferred treatment delivered in specialised settings, which cannot get any better, can it!

Wellness Specialities

As more and more people get acquainted, the wellness concept will gain further traction. Also, those seeking further respite in nature and wellness will drive the diversification in wellness and natural care. It will only get more interesting and exciting as more people continue to dwell on the topic of wellness. The wellness outlets on their part will continue to offer an insight to help people get friendly to the idea and understand its relevance deeper.

Like any wellness centre begins with doing a postural assessment and then prescribe a suitable therapy like aromatherapy, recovery, de-stress, reflexology, Vedic spice or invigorating massage and the Yogic kriyas (according to prescription). There are personal trainers to help you do personal yoga sessions. There is TRX, stretching sessions, spinning, dance, laughter therapy, pranayama, meditation and more to do some mind, body and soul-searching.

The biggest trend for 2018 will be an infrared sauna, acupuncture, Reiki and the natural beauty products gaining mainstream attention.

Visiting Experts

A wellness visit is always experiential and to make it particularly effective, one should ideally long for more experience and observations. There are many wellness destinations which offer you an opportunity to get up and close with nature and understand the life here.
Lookout for interactions and special engagements with chefs, athletes, healers, doctors, gardeners, to learn every bit about the art of spiritual healing, healthier habits and top of the skills to offer wellness.  It is good to interact and carry meaningful conversations back home.


Take a willful break from the world of constant communication and be in your cocoon. It is a big task to take a recluse and only a wellness resort destination can help you do that. Go up the hill and enclose yourself in the silence. 
Instead of a virtual experience on-screen, pave way for the mindfulness and meditative nature walks, enjoy the utmost silence with the spa therapists, or even the lovely lookout at nature from your room. Engage with natural things of life by doing physical workouts like aqua exercises, Pilates, stretching sessions, laughter therapy, jogging through nature or simply meditating. Take out time once in a whole to enter the no-cell zone in personal comfort and willingness to mingle around.

Mental Health

Boost the on-going awareness of this subject and focus on one of the most unaccepted facts of human behaviour.  Educated and support people to openly talk and discuss their mental well-being. Work towards mindfulness... encourage discussions at workplaces, public forums, educational institutes. Celebrities are already promoting mental health and so will wellness industry.

In the Nutshell

As more and more people walk into the wellness zone, the presumption is that they have a renewed purpose of fitness and good health. Naturally, they are not alien to the nuisances of the daily life and how a wellness retreat can be a perfect match for them. It is just that they now wish to experience it and be a part of this blissful journey. To do so, they will look for value-add through wellness. This is where the big opportunity lies.

We don’t need to convince people to visit us, but we definitely need to give them an experience which they will cherish for a lifetime. Repeat visits will be our biggest success since a single guest visiting us many times means that they know how wellness can make a difference to us. So, personalization will rule the roost.

Wellness Trends: What’s Exiting with 2017?

Healthy but Super Expensive Foods
Who likes to spend their month’s salary to eat healthy? Well, no one. Foods and products that are super expensive in the name of being ‘healthy’ are on their way out. Eating and living healthy shouldn’t be a luxury and should be pocket-friendly as well. With many brands stepping in to provide pocket efficient foods and products, looks like it’s the end of the road for the moolah hungry ‘healthy’ foods and products.

Taking a Backseat- Fitness Apps
We all have had a lot of technology-driven fitness apps. Though their advantages are many, the one disadvantage that is leading them out of the door is no personal connectivity. Apps those are solely available at the mercy of technology and with no real contact are getting thumbs down over apps that have both the factors added to their base.

Expert Speak
A trillion Dollar industry is awaiting your arrival; this is the wellness industry as of today! Gone are the days where a one-hour gym session, the fanciest equipment, an average trainer and an image of a photoshopped body was enough to get a client through the door! The marketplace is looking for a deeper and more valuable fitness solution, incorporating both Rejuvenation and Relaxation Experiences. If you look around, food places with Vegan, Organic and Healthier options are sprouting all over the place. The marketplace is beginning to understand the importance of Eating Well, Moving Well and Sleeping Well. Global trends like Gluten Free, Wheat Free, which already exist in the Indian market, are being introduced in modern flavor, i.e. Fermented foods like Idli and Dosa are being sold as ‘Wheat Free Pancakes’ and so on. Enter the wellness experience, following a more Hospitality template with a Menu of options, from Functional Fitness, Functional Movement (RAPTfx Systems), Yoga, Pilates, Massage, Anti-Aging, Cryotherapy, Detox and Yoga Retreats, says Prameet Kotak, Holistic Wellness Expert.

Today we see an increasing trend for a healthier and fitter lifestyle leading to a drastic change in the eating habits of individuals. This particular phenomenon has given a sharp rise in the demand for consumption of residue-free vegetables and fruits. Since the new age parents are quite health conscious, the practice of consuming safer and chemical free foods is likely to be adopted by the future generations.  This would eventually contribute to the larger wellness industry in India which currently is forecasted by FICCI and EY to grow by 12% and reach a record high of 1.3 trillion dollars by the fiscal year 2020. Naturally, this is a lucrative time to invest in the very promising wellness and fitness industry and that is what will attract investment and growth for this sector in India, says Nilesh Palresha, Executive Director, VTP Group.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Big Data in Healthcare - Hype or Reality

The Big Data Questions

Big data is generating a lot of hype in every industry including healthcare. People are looking for answers to questions like:

    When will I need big data?
    What should I do to prepare for big data?
    What’s the best way to use big data?
    What is Health Catalyst doing with big data?

It’s important to separate the reality from the hype and clearly describe the place of big data in healthcare today, along with the role it will play in the future.

Big Data in Healthcare Today

A number of use cases in healthcare are well suited for a big data solution.
Some academic- or research-focused healthcare institutions are either experimenting with big data or using it in advanced research projects.
This presentation will examine what’s being done to simplify big data and make it more accessible.

A Brief History of Big Data in Healthcare

In 2001, Doug Laney, now at Gartner, coined the term “the 3 V’s” to define big data:
  • Volume
  • Velocity
  • Variety
Other analysts argued that this is too simplistic but for this purpose let’s start here.

EMRs alone collect huge amounts of data, but according to Brent James of Intermountain Healthcare most of the data is for recreational purposes.
Our work with health systems shows that only a small fraction of the tables in an EMR database (perhaps 400 to 600 tables out of 1000s) are relevant to the current practice of medicine and its corresponding analytics use cases.

There is certainly variety in the data, but most systems collect very similar data objects with an occasional tweak to the model.
That said, new use cases that support genomics will certainly require a big data approach.

Health Systems Without Big Data

Most health systems can do plenty today without big data, including meeting most of their analytics and reporting needs.
We haven’t come close to stretching the limits of what healthcare analytics can accomplish with traditional relational databases—and using these databases effectively is a more valuable focus than worrying about big data.

Most healthcare institutions are swamped with some very pedestrian problems such as regulatory reporting and operational dashboards.
As basic needs are met and some of the initial advanced applications are in place, new use cases will arrive (e.g. wearable medical devices and sensors) driving the need for big-data-style solutions.

Barriers Exist for Using Big Data

Expertise and Security

Several challenges with big data have yet to be addressed in the current big data distributions.
Two roadblocks to the general use of big data in healthcare are the technical expertise required to use it and a lack of robust, integrated security surrounding it.


The value for big data in healthcare today is largely limited to research because using big data requires a very specialized skill set.
Hospital IT experts familiar with SQL programming languages and traditional relational databases aren’t prepared for the steep learning curve and other complexities surrounding big data.

Data scientists are usually Ph.D.-level thinkers with significant expertise.
These experts are hard to come by and expensive, and only research institutions usually have access to them.
Data scientists are in huge demand across industries like banking and internet powers with deep pockets.

The good news is, thanks to changes with the tooling, people with less-specialized skillsets will be able to easily work with big data in the future.
Big data is coming to embrace SQL as the lingua franca for querying. And when this happens, it will become useful in a health system setting.

In healthcare, HIPAA compliance is non-negotiable. Nothing is more important than the privacy and security of patient data.
Unfortunately, security hasn’t been a priority up to this point and there aren’t many good, integrated ways to manage security in big data.
When opening up access to a large, diverse group of users, security cannot be an afterthought.

The best option for healthcare organizations looking to implement big data is to purchase a well-supported, commercial distribution rather than starting with a raw Apache distribution.
Another option is to select a cloud-based solution like Azure HDInsight to get started quickly.

Big Data Differs from Current Systems

It’s Unlike Typical Relational Databases

Big data differs from a typical relational database.
This is obvious to a CIO or an IT director, but a brief explanation of how the two systems differ will show why big data is currently a work in progress—yet still holds so much potential.

Big Data Has Minimal StructureThe biggest difference between big data and relational databases is that big data doesn’t have the traditional table-and-column structure found in relational databases.
In contrast, big data has hardly any structure at all. Data is extracted from source systems in its raw form stored in a massive, somewhat chaotic distributed file system.

Big Data Is Raw DataBy convention, big data is typically not transformed in any way.
Little or no “cleansing” is done and generally, no business rules are applied. Some people refer to this raw data in terms of the “Sushi Principle” (i.e. data is best when it’s raw, fresh, and ready to consume).
Interestingly, the Health Catalyst Late-Binding™ Data Warehouse follows the same principles. 

Big Data Is Less ExpensiveDue to its unstructured nature and open source roots, big data is much less expensive to own and operate than a traditional relational database.
A Hadoop cluster is built from inexpensive, commodity hardware, and it typically runs on traditional disk drives in a direct-attached (DAS) configuration rather than an expensive storage area network (SAN).

Big Data Has No Roadmap 
The lack of pre-defined structure means a big data environment is cheaper and simpler to create.
So what’s the catch?
The difficulty with big data is that it’s not trivial to find needed data within that massive, unstructured data store.
A structured relational database essentially comes with a roadmap—an outline of where each piece of data exists.

With a relational database, a simple, structured query language (i.e. SQL) pulls the needed data using a sophisticated query engine optimized for finding data.
With big data, the query languages are much more complicated.
A data scientist is needed to find the subset of data required for applications.

Creating the required MapReduce algorithms for querying big data instances isn’t for the faint of heart.
Fortunately, that’s changing at a fairly rapid pace with tools like SparkSQL and other query tools that leverage conventional SQL for querying.
In short, big data is cheap but more difficult to use. Relational databases are expensive but very usable.

It’s Coming: Big Data in Healthcare

When healthcare organizations envision the future of big data, they often think of using it for analyzing text-based notes.
Big data indexing techniques, and some of the new work finding information in textual fields, could indeed add real value to healthcare analytics in the future.

Big Data and the Internet of Things

Big data will become valuable to healthcare in what’s known as the internet of things (IoT).
SAS describes the IoT as:

"a growing network of everyday objects from industrial machines to consumer goods that can share information and complete tasks while you are busy with other activities, like work, sleep, or exercise."

For healthcare, any device that generates data about a person’s health and sends that data into the cloud will be part of this IoT.
Wearables are perhaps the most familiar example of such a device.
Many people now can wear a fitness device that tracks their heartrate, their weight, how it’s all trending, and then their smartphone sends that data to a cloud service.

Big Data and Care Management

ACOs focus on managed care and want to keep people at home and out of the hospital.
Sensors and wearables will collect health data on patients in their homes and push all of that data into the cloud.
Healthcare institutions and care managers, using sophisticated tools, will monitor this massive data stream and the IoT to keep their patients healthy.

The Fun Stuff: 

Predictive Analytics, Prescriptive Analytics, and Genomics

Real-time alerting is just one important future use of big data. Another is predictive analytics.
The use cases for predictive analytics in healthcare have been limited up to the present because we simply haven’t had enough data to work with.
Big data can help fill that gap.

One example of data that can play a role in predictive analytics is socioeconomic data.
Socioeconomic data might show that people in a certain zip code are unlikely to have a car.
There is a good chance, therefore, that a patient in that zip code who has just been discharged from the hospital will have difficulty making it to a follow-up appointment at a distant physician’s office.

This and similar data can help organizations predict missed appointments, noncompliance with medications, and more.
That is just a small example of how big data can fuel predictive analytics.
The possibilities are endless.

Patient Flight Paths and Prescriptive Analytics

Another use for predictive analytics is predicting the “flight path” of a patient.
Leveraging historical data from other patients with similar conditions, predictive algorithms can be created using programming languages such as R and big data machine learning libraries to faithfully predict the trajectory of a patient over time.

Once we can accurately predict patient trajectories, we can shift to the Holy Grail–Prescriptive Analytics.
Intervening to interrupt the patient’s trajectory and set him on the proper course will become reality.
Big data is well suited for these futuristic use cases.

Genomic Sequencing and Big Data

The use of genomic data is on the rise in patient treatment. The cost of sequencing an individual’s full genome has plunged in recent years.
Sequencing will become commonplace and eventually become a commodity lab test.
Genomic sequences are huge files and the analysis of genomes generates even more data. 

The Future of Healthcare Data Warehousing 
And the Transition to Big Data

With the present limitations for big data in healthcare and the truly fascinating future possibilities that big data enables.
An important question to address at this point is:
What should a health system do in the meantime? 

Today, health systems’ need for data-driven quality and cost improvement is urgent.
Healthcare organizations cannot afford to wait for big data technology to mature before diving into analytics.
The important factor will be choosing a data warehousing solution that can easily adapt to the future of big data.

A Late-Binding™ enterprise data warehouse (EDW) architecture is ideal for making the transition from relational databases to unstructured big data.
The late-binding approach is very similar to the big data approach.
In a Late-Binding EDW like Health Catalyst’s, data from source systems are placed into source marts.
The data remains in its raw state until someone needs it.

Real World Example Healthcare’s Transition to Big DataIn conclusion, here is a brief example of how the transition from relational databases to big data is happening in the real world.
We are working with one of our large health system clients and Microsoft to create a massively parallel data warehouse in a Microsoft APS Appliance that also includes a Hortonworks Hadoop Cluster.

Real World Example Healthcare’s Transition to Big DataIn conclusion, here is a brief example of how the transition from relational databases to big data is happening in the real world.
We are working with one of our large health system clients and Microsoft to create a massively parallel data warehouse in a Microsoft APS Appliance that also includes a Hortonworks Hadoop Cluster.