Information is power, especially in providing individualized care. Personalized medicine and care is the wave of healthcare’s future though use of “big data.”
More facts empower and help piece together a bigger picture so that people, such as doctors and patients, can make better decisions. However, for that to happen, information accuracy is paramount as well as reliability and meaningfulness. Wrong information created by accumulating incorrect facts about patients leads to misinformation about whole populations. The end result is doctors and patients alike making wrong decisions.
This means that the healthcare stakes have risen as people and technology pool together vast amounts of information. Opportunities could be missed by the people and analytical software using big data to find trends or draw conclusions.
One such opportunity is the area of treatment development. Big data could help to find cures more quickly and at lower costs. Currently only 500 of 7,000 known diseases have treatments available. The promise of access to greater amounts of information could mean answers for those who currently have none.
Unfortunately big data has obstacles, including the lack of sharing between hospitals, healthcare centers, and physicians. There are no systems set in place to facilitate the flow or exchange of information.
A June 24 roundtable on 21st Century Cures held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee looked into these barriers to big data that stop it from being used on a larger scale in terms of point of care possibilities and areas for research and development.
Read more of about big data and its implications for personalized healthcare here.