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FreeCreditReport.Com: The Future of Healthcare?

Mar 21 2013

Predictive Analytics: Saving Lives

I had many interesting conversations recently at the HIMSS conference in New Orleans.  The healthcare industry is actively talking about shifting the focal point of care from illness to wellness but few folks really understood that predictive analytics is fundamental in that monumental shift.  At present the healthcare system knows very little about us till we show up at the hospital or in a doctor’s office sick.  In order to become preventive, the healthcare system will have to begin tracking our vitals decades before it currently does and listening in ways it currently does not.

Imagine in the not too distant future when our personal data trail will define our preventive health care plan…. How might this work? Well, our Twitter stream and Facebook posts already reveal our sleep habits, our social connections, and can be text-mined to determine if we’re happy or sad.  Add our bank and credit card abstracts and GPS data from our phones and we’ll know quite a bit about  socio-economic factors, calorie burn and diet habits among other things (some of us are already wearing devices that monitor our caloric intake, burn and other vitals).  Throw into that mix our DNA sequencing and well…we have mountains of valuable data that were previously not factored into our healthcare that can save our life!  Worried about an invasion of privacy? Unwilling to provide that data? I beg to differ.  Consider these points:

1) Much of this info is already available about us and is being used to sell the banner ads we see while browsing the internet. Wouldn’t it be great if this information could be used to improve our health and longevity?

2) Data collection is harmless in comparison to the invasion of bodily privacy we could have at the hospital. Imagine walking into the ER years from now and they admit you and then proceed to run every test known to man…or worse yet they cut you open?

3) When the insurance companies and government realize that a patient “monitored” is a fraction of the cost to care for and much healthier than their unmonitored counterparts we will have very attractive financial incentives. We may be offered two insurance premiums – one at  $150/mo (monitored) and another at  $2000/mo (unmonitored).  Starting to sound like a good deal,  huh?

I’ve had senior clinical leadership doubt this near term future. They say that even if the data were available and properly mined, it’ll be decades before clinicians are properly trained to have these conversations with patients.  To this I say, “It is a bit short sighted to think that all of this information will be forced through the delivery mechanism that is a busy clinician.”  In my opinion, eventually the patient will be having this conversation with themselves while in their secure patient portal from the comfort of their own home.  Just the same way that many of us micromanage our credit score through online portals where  we can see specific actions that are making us high risk and actions we can take to  boost our score… welcome to the future of healthcare! 

I’m sure silly commercials will be soon to follow.

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