Data and HealthcareRuslan Dorfman, PhD, MBA
Companies all over the world leverage big data to assess the health of their organization and measure the impact of tools or technologies they use to deliver the products or services. From a business stand point effective interpretation of these metrics saves time and money devoted to seeking the most suitable investment options. Similarly from a consumer stand point, instant access to many different portals of information has led to a decrease in information asymmetry and has benefited the decision making process to reap greater benefits.
However accumulating and interpreting data bears a cost, businesses and consumers spend time cost searching for the most relevant data to further their agendas. Getting a reliable set is of utmost importance in order to make an informed decision.
How does this tie in with healthcare? How many health related tests have you taken in the past 3 years (Blood tests, MRIs, CAT, dental x-rays, mammograms etc.? Data all revolving around your health at that moment in time, a snapshot. Healthcare professionals take that data, interpret it and formulate a diagnosis to the best of their ability. There are gaps in this process that leave room for human error and may lead to reduced confidence in healthcare professionals if treatment given does not work or worse causes additional problems such as adverse side effects.
To mitigate the aforementioned case of misdiagnosis additional data sets valid to the patient would provide another metric of confidence to ensure the best option of treatment is taken or diagnosis made. The progression of genetic testing technology has become more readily available at lower cost and continues to become more affordable to the masses.
Accessing additional data straight from your genome gives healthcare professionals the ability to prescribe a treatment customized to the way your body responds to certain chemical structures in medications or catch something in the earlier stages and develop strategies for disease prevention.
Think about how the advent of the internet has affected your decisions on what invest options to pursue, whether it is the best phone plan suited for you or real estate prices. You’ve made more informed decisions due to access to more information around the topic.
Since you genome is fixed, it permanently remains the same, meaning there is a reason why a certain brand of pain killers suits your body better than another or why you have an affinity towards certain foods and not others. This data can be accessed at any point at which you assess the compatibility of your treatment with your body. Gaining more knowledge aids in making informed decisions.