January 9, 2013 Back to All Blogs

Health Care’s Data Tipping Point


Due to a schedule change, I can no longer be a guest on HuffPost Live’s Tech Game Changers today, but wanted to share some thoughts on health care’s digital revolution.

Health care is finally reaching a point of transformation that almost every other industry has undergone over the past 15 years — the power of self-service. The volume of data being generated in healthcare is unprecedented – becoming the largest of any sector, potentially surpassing financial data. With a new influx of bio-medical sensors, activity driven trackers, and manually tracked moods and behaviors, the next forefront of progress will be providing the tools we need to analyze that data.  When you work in the technology industry, it is a huge opportunity and challenge to figure out how to organize millions of pieces of health information. Think Rubik’s cube on steroids! This is one of Pantheon’s specialties.

I am a big believer in the power of data to allow a person to make huge transformative leaps in their lifestyles.  All of the recent consumer wearables and sensor driven appliances/devices are giving people a new stream of data they never had before to make discoveries about their habits, lives, and behaviors. I logged four million steps on my Fitbit app and thanks to the data I was able to get from its sleep tracking algorithms, I was able to get diagnosed with a sleep disorder, which the doctor said may have saved years on my life.  Using the MyFitnessPal app I was able to monitor exercise and food consumption, which helped me lose 40 pounds – something that also probably added years to my life.

What we are seeing happen at CES 2013 now is only the beginning of the ability for people to be able to make sense of their data. As part of a Huffington Post blog series, I identified five trends that show health care quality and cost is improving.

Health care is ripe for transformation. Driven by an overly complex health care delivery system, an exponentially increasing financial burden, and rising dissatisfaction with health outcomes, consumers are demanding more say in their health care.  This ultimately is one of the things that has driven the explosion of mobile health this year.  Whether it be in scheduling appointments with your doctor, getting access to your health records, participating in care decisions, or reviewing measures of healthcare quality to make more informed decisions of what insurance plan or doctor to go to, consumers are gaining more power.  Ultimately these tools that allow patients and their families to more fully participate in health care will help control costs and increase the quality of care.

* Also check out:
What do we know about health care public reporting? Not enough.
Five trends that show the digital health revolution’s potential to improve quality and cost
Red carpet premieres and animated reviews for health care public reporting