Switching the Narrative on Health Data for Populations

Switching the Narrative on Health Data for Populations
Photo by Scott Evans / Unsplash

Data is everywhere, exchanges occur on sites like TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, What's App, and the endless social applications available.

I can now log on to any social media application for streams of information, based on interest. Is this information useful? Is it accurate? What about the sources of this information? Who's behind what we see? Political interests? Modern cyberwarfare organizations and think tanks? I can access this information with a few clicks.

Health information is more obscure, it's a challenge to get streams of my own health information.

In hospital and clinic settings health parameters are monitored: breathing rates, oxygen levels, blood pressure, anxiety levels (by a clinicians objective assessment), and blood sugar levels.

These parameters are unknown to most of us.

UCSF is working on areas of health that haven't been widely considered. The role of stress in inflammation is real. And this can be broken down to environmental stress whether it's social interactions, tainted water supply, or the packaging that our consumables come in when we shop at Target.

Entertainment is fine, but I would like to see the information available that would improve the health of populations. Could there be a Twitter just for healthcare?

We are entering an era of drastic change in the area of health. An era where the focus will be on the prevention of chronic disease. Knowing your blood pressure readings is one step but, what about the data? How do we interpret it and what should be done? I believe that health is like a pie where its ingredients dictate how the pie turns out.

Time management, income, social relationships, our body, and personal growth are the parts of this pie.

Companies are building applications and platforms that will allow us to tap into areas of health that we never knew existed. Sensors will play a large role in measuring traditional health parameters but, topics like nutrition, sleep and stress levels play an important role in health outcomes.

In the future, monitoring our health based on where we live, our habits, and even thoughts will be mainstream.

These applications will run in the background with us noticing. Data from these applications can be used to guide consumers to better overall health.

Companies like Twitter have worked on user experience relentlessly. Health companies should be targeting user experience and some adoption strategies to provide meaningful data to consumers.

The next big health company will look to solve many problems in swaths. Whether it's the incidence of breast cancer in Marin County, crime rates in inner cities, or diabetes in our Native American populations. Many of these diseases are behavioral in nature, and it is the data that can help guide populations to make the right choices in terms of their health.