we’re awash in data but we don’t have any information
The focus of diagnostics is to give us data. For two weeks I’ve been testing thermistors and sensors that can tell you what’s going on inside the kidneys. From a pure engineering perspective, there are lots of questions about accuracy, and the integrity of the data we’re pulling.
I spy with my little eye… a Foley, two thermistors, heat-shrink (and a heat gun), and an engineering microscope.
Data is good to have. But by itself, it doesn’t mean anything. An elevated core body temperature is interesting, but unless we know what the root cause and related symptoms are, it doesn’t help us take any action.
There’s an entire movement in healthcare dubbed Health2.0. Like social and web2.0, the focus of Health2.0 is allowing more people to input data into the system. The question that healthcare used to ask is, “do we have the data to make a decision?” Health2.0 changes the game by asking, “how can we get more data to make a decision?”
I should have an entire section of the blog devoted to concepts I pull from my Zynga friends. Zynga does an incredible job of pulling data from its users. They track user behavior better than anyone in the business. But, as a FarmVille PM once told me, accurate data isn’t what’s going to drive buyers. In other words, data for data’s sake isn’t meaningful.
Everyone loves buzzwords, and the new wave is going to be Health3.0. It doesn’t matter what you actually call it, but the value in medicine is going towards personalization and prediction. Data was the first step, and better data is now the second. But making meaning of that data, pulling signal from noise, is where the value lies. The healthcare question is being reframed again, into, “how can we get meaningful information from the data that we have?”
We’re headed into the era of decision support. It’s an interesting transition to experience, and one that’s tied very clearly to generational lines - our older generation of doctors in the United States have cut their teeth and made their lives in a culture which skews the power in a doctor-patient relationship towards the clinician. And that’s important, because I’m clearly not the one in the exam room that went through four years of medical school and three years of residency.
But I am the one that knows my own body best. Health2.0 tries to take advantage of that, tries to reclaim some of the empowerment in the doctor-patient interaction and give it back to the patient.
Health3.0 is going to be how to harmonize the balance - how to make physician and patient a team, how to get not only more inputs, but rather, better inputs.
Oh hey, by the way - I finally got around to redoing the “About” page - have a look.