#OBHIS2 – Two Things We’ve Learned … About Health Data
To celebrate our birthday and the start of the ‘terrible twos’ (hopefully not…) we decided to take a look back at the past two years, and reflect on what we’ve achieved, what we’ve learned and what we might do differently were we starting again.
Of course, much like an X Factor contestant, these are entirely our own reflections of our journey so far – we’d love to hear yours! Tweet us @OBH_UK or use #OBHis2 to join in the conversation.
1 – Data is getting (even more!) interesting
We’ve realised that big data sometimes just explains what clinicians do naturally: often there is more than one potential treatment for any condition, and clinicians will vary treatments based on (for example) their knowledge of a patient as an individual, their likelihood to tolerate a particular treatment, patients they have seen previously with similar conditions and similar personal characteristics. A type of pattern recognition learned through training and apprenticeship.
Using big data techniques, you can start to measure those clusters of things which clinicians subconsciously or intuitively process, but with much more accuracy and with far fewer inherent biases. Ultimately, this type of data analysis could allow for far greater precision in care delivery, and even for ‘pre-treatment’ of a condition, rather than simply prevention.
2 – Even we don’t know what health data is anymore (but don’t tell anyone!)
For years, healthcare data has been viewed simply as the data which is generated by the health care industry. However, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that seemingly irrelevant data, like social media posts, location and GPS tracking, your shopping habits, income and voting habits, may actually be equally powerful, and could actually provide greater insights to your health.
It seems that understanding human characteristics may be even more important to understanding disease progression than the condition itself. This blurring of the lines between what is health data and what isn’t is extremely powerful, and could ultimately challenge our current disease based model of healthcare.