Health IT

The new era of computable health is revolutionizing healthcare as we know it

I remember those fond days when I was a child, sat in the back of my parent’s car, en route to our favorite summer vacation destination. The journey was long and slow with lots of twists and turns on the way. With few highways, just getting there and back was a big part of the […]

I remember those fond days when I was a child, sat in the back of my parent’s car, en route to our favorite summer vacation destination.

The journey was long and slow with lots of twists and turns on the way. With few highways, just getting there and back was a big part of the vacation. Generally it was a fun and pleasant experience, but the atmosphere was intermittently broken with a blind panic, scrambling to grab the map, unfold it, turn it the right way up, figure out our location, where we are going … and then suddenly, ‘Arrggh, oh, no! We missed a turning, again. GROAN! ’

Sounds familiar? Thankfully, we are much less likely to suffer a hypertension crisis while navigating these days, even though we’re driving more than ever. With the help of our handy GPS gadget and mobile Internet connection, the enormous knowledge of global mapping databases are at our fingertips. A few taps on a screen, and behind the scenes web platforms trigger complex algorithms to calculate the best route, alternate routes, and keep you up to date with your exact location, speed limits, traffic hot spots, and your time of arrival. It’s changed all our lives forever and we take it for granted every day.

In fact, algorithms are now working for us everywhere, all the time, in a Google search, a Facebook social network, a credit card fraud check, a stock trade, and in crime prevention. They assist us every day, without you even knowing it. But, wait, then there’s healthcare.

A significant part of the USA’s medical research budget of $81B each year is poured into evidence-based algorithms. On PubMed alone there are 235,000 papers referencing medical algorithms. Almost 20,000 were added just last year. Top cited algorithms include genetics, cancer, surgery, behavioral and cardiovascular health.

This is an incredible repository of computable health, yet only few are put into practice.

So many of our tax dollars are being spent researching algorithms to improve our health, it would seem almost immoral not to connect them to health professionals. Just like your GPS navigator, they are designed to process constant streams of complex data that are too overwhelming for the human brain and their results assist in medical decisions. They quickly alert professionals to issues such as health risks, illness deterioration, severity, complications, compliance, and recommend courses of action. They can help health professionals spend less time sifting through data to discover the issues and more time solving them.

We are on the verge of a new era of computable health, where complex data and algorithms constantly work behind the scenes, helping health professionals navigate you to your best health outcome.

You have arrived at your destination!

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