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Contributed by Andrew Vaterlaus-Staby


When you get sick, getting a diagnosis usually means paying a visit to the doctor’s office or hospital to go through some tests and get their carefully considered diagnosis. Not only can this be a time consuming and stressful process, but we’re forced to place a lot of trust in one person’s opinion. Imagine if you were able to bypass this process entirely, getting an accurate diagnosis based on your past medical history simply by describing your symptoms. While this may seem like a futuristic solution, cutting edge healthcare providers are realizing this possibility by leveraging the power of big data to lower the cost of healthcare, augment doctor’s abilities and even predict diseases before they spread.

As Rafi Haladijan, Founder and CEO of says, “In the future, your doctor is not going to rely only on what you tell him, but you could go to your doctor with actual figures and quantified data from your life. He will make decisions based on actual facts, and not just on how good or bad you remember how you were doing.”

These new platforms are able to consider a wider range of criteria from aggregated success rates to individual medical history, helping augment doctors’ decision-making abilities, and eventually even predict diseases before they strike. The introduction of big data into healthcare is part of a larger trend featured on PSFK Labs’ latest Future of Health Report, which we are calling Data-Driven Treatment Plans.


But in any instance when you’re using consumer data, it’s important that you demonstrate the intrinsic value upfront and ensure that all processes are transparent. As David Meyer writes in a recent article on GigaOm, ”If you’re going to harness the power of the crowd’s collective data, you had better do a good job of explaining to the crowd why this is a good thing. You need to sell it to them, backing up your pitch with explanations of how giving up their data will benefit them.”

Not only with this data lead to better individual treatments, but when viewed in aggregate, it has the potential to change the way the healthcare system delivers care, while improving outcomes and reducing costs. In fact, Mount Sinai Hospital has reduced its 30-day re-admissions rate by 56% by detecting those most at risk and taking special measures and precautions by implementing these measures.

As part of understanding this tie between data and health, the following questions can help prepare both companies and providers, as these look to harness its potential more effectively:

  • How can doctors leverage patient medical history, alongside current symptoms to arrive at more effective diagnoses and treatment plans?
  • What additional information can be collected during patient intake to aid in creating a more robust patient profile?
  • What patient data can be shared with doctors on a regular basis to move towards a more responsive model of diagnosis and care?
  • How do you demonstrate the value of sharing this information?
  • How can patients be given ownership over their data? How is it regulated and standardized?
  • How can patients be incentivized to donate their data to ongoing research projects?
  • How insurance and healthcare companies contribute to the development of smarter data systems that inform better treatment options?

With the help of our partner Boehringer Ingelheim, PSFK Labs has released the latest Future of Health Report, which highlights the four major themes and 13 emerging trends shaping the evolving global landscape of healthcare. To see more insights and thoughts on the Future of Healthvisit the PSFK page.


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