We live in an age where information on you is constantly collected and stored.
These large data sets can be used to offer insights into the behavior of a given populace. SMART APPLICATIONS gives a sneak peek into insights gleaned from data collected since the COVID pandemic struck. These insights can be used to guide future policy and isolate causes and effects of emergent issues.
In this article, we shall look at four insightful trends and their definite effect on the cost of healthcare in the country.
Before we dive into the data, we need to state that correlation is not causality. Just because one event increased in correspondence to a second does not mean that the first event caused the second, or vice versa.
First, and rather obviously, data shows there was an aversion to hospitals in 2020. The year saw a marked drop in hospital visits; originally this was thought to be caused by reduced illnesses caused by social isolation and restricted movement, however, a sharp increase in hospital visits in 2021 may imply a psychological aversion to hospitals in 2020.
The most interesting bit from the data analysis however is that: Visits to the dentist have increased since Covid 19 struck. The data shows a sharp increase in cases of tooth decay. Dental carries which was formerly not even top 20 is now the second most commonly treated ailment. It is important to remember that correlation is not causality. It’s not likely that the Covid 19 virus also affect the teeth but; it is likely that wearing masks for longer contributes to the erosion of tooth enamel.
CNN International Correspondent Larry Madowo at the start of the pandemic tweeted in jest “I know we’re washing hands but when do we go back to taking showers?”. While the humour is not wasted on any of us, it may point and a general disregard for hygiene during the WFH period. This may include dental hygiene which in turn shows the increase in dental caries.
It could also be that during the WFH period, many people are consuming more sugar leading to the upsurge in tooth decay. Again, correlation versus causality.
The hypothesis that mask-wearing is the culprit gets a little more weight by another interesting statistic. There was a marked increase in cases of myopia reported. Eye problems and tooth problems together may point at the negative effects of prolonged mask-wearing. But this needs further investigation.
Lastly, lower back pain has seen a sharp increase in reporting in 2021. This could be caused by increased in-activity during the WFH period or could be as simple as most people working form home do not have proper desk set up. Furniture built for lounging on such as living room furniture does give adequate back support and could also be the cause here. We have to insist, correlation is not causality, therefore establishing the actual cause demands further investigation.
While we can speculate on the sudden upsurge of myopia, lower back pain and dental caries, we know with certainty the effect. Insurers have been paying more in hospital claims as visits to the dentist and ophthalmologist often cost more than visits to a GP.
SMART APPLICATIONS has a dedicated data science and analytics team that graciously availed this data within the confines of the data protection act.