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How combining data and outcomes can change the way we practice health care...

  • Apr 28, 2013
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How Data Science Is Transforming Health Care by Tim O'Reilly, Mike Loukides, Julie Steele, and Colin Hill is not a large book... in fact, it's only 26 pages. But it's a solid 26 pages that makes the case for how health care can (and will) be transformed by the use of massive and detailed data on patients and outcomes. Given that you can download it for free on Amazon, there's no reason *not* to give it a read. It's enough to shift your view of how health care technology can be much more effective than it currently is...

Probably the most significant point made is how the combination of data on patients and outcomes can be combined to make drug therapy more targeted and efficient. Instead of having a drug that is 80% effective in patients, we can move to having a drug that is 100% effective in 80% of the patients, and we know not to travel down that path for the other 20% where it will fail. Learning how drugs interact with certain gene makeups can narrow down the most effective drug usage, and it can also come up with ties to other drugs that may not be considered for one particular condition, but that share certain characteristics that would make it useful in treating that condition.

This ability to make sure drugs are effective also changes the behavior of pharmaceutical companies. We're starting to see costs and charges tied to effectiveness rather than just usage. Same with doctors... they're starting to be paid for outcomes, not standard cookie-cutter treatments that may or may not work for the "average" person.

Granted, at 26 pages, this book(let?) can't go into great depth and detail. But if you have any doubts as to how all the medical data you generate can help you down the road, this will get you thinking in a different direction.

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About the reviewer
Thomas Duff ()
Ranked #42
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
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