Monday, June 3, 2013

Big Data and medicine

The Georgetown Advocate
Webster Russell

Longitudinal data is a powerful analytical tool. Now that sentence is not one of those gems of wisdom you would hand down to your children or grand children, nor is it something you would lovingly whisper in the ear of a loved one. That being said, it is a truism that the longer the data stream the more accented the trends, therefore the better the decisions that can be made. OK enough of that statistical stuff, the real question is what in the heck has this got to do with our conversation? A great deal actually. One of the many things we have learned over our years in healthcare is that the quality and effectiveness of the healthcare you receive is in large part dependent upon your ability to effectively communicate with your physician.

When one of us was diagnosed with cancer, this premise was sorely tested. As you may very well know chemotherapy is fraught with potential side effects. The consequences of those side effects can be difficult to measure. Questions like, how do you feel, how is the pain, or how is the nausea may well focus your answers on the short term, and therefore doesn't really give your physician the long term information he/she needs to work with. This isn't only true of cancer treatment but with any long term therapeutic regimen as well.

Being married to a nurse and having spent 20 years at the bedside in the treatment and research arm of healthcare, I developed a real interest in integrating computers into the healthcare, and as you so astutely surmised it has continued to the present day.

Taking the truism I noted earlier and combining it with my interest in computers, we created a patient friendly chemo therapy log which is designed to give the oncologist the longitudinal (long term) data that can help him/her evaluate the side effects that occur secondary to chemo therapy. As sophisticated as it sounds, we did this with an iPad, a $10.00 app, a bit of creativity, and about 60 hours of design and testing. To say the least, it has really helped our physician and the patient evaluate and manage the chemo-therapy side effects.

So how does this help make you a tech savvy patient? It gives you and your physician some real long term information about how you believe you are really doing, and that is key to the successful approach to your treatment.

- Posted using from my iPad HD

Location:Georgetown Tx,United States

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