In the recent years, the use of data has increased dramatically in many fields such as business, marketing, sports, as well as, more recently, health. Moreover, this is one of the areas where information can be very useful and generally revolution the structure of the health care system. In fact, some companies are already investing, especially Google which finances Flatiron Health, an American start-up looking for cancer mortality reduction factors by analyzing the data of millions of patients.
The use of data can support medicine in many respects:
- Personalized medicine: all the accumulated data will allow to adapt treatments to the type of patients depending on their genetic profile. Data sharing at the global and national level between different entities will lead to an adaptation of diagnosis and especially difficult and rare treatments.
- Predictive medicine: Predicting a disease risk in some patients thanks to genomic data. Thanks to this data, it will be possible to identify the right people depending on the risk that they might develop diseases. This predictive medicine is promoted by participatory medicine, that is to say, data collection thanks to the quantified self. Chronic diseases which parameters are properly identified and linked to clear physiological mechanisms are those for which data has the most potential.
- Relevant medicine: IBM designed « Watson supercomputer » which gives a first diagnosis from family history, analysis results, practitioners’ observations and notes from interviews with the patient. Several hospitals already adopted it. Another diagnosis support software exists: a French start-up called Khresterion has built such a software, which helps caregivers to make a decision thanks to artificial intelligence when it comes to their patients who are suffering from diabetes or cancer.
Quantified self : a real e-health tool
To develop the use of data for medicine and other areas, some organisations are collecting all kinds of information concerning our lifestyle, which can be useful today, or which usefulness has not been found yet. We talk about « quantified self », these practices are aiming to measure, to compare with other people variables such as : physical activity, sleep, heart rate… The Quantified Self gathers all of tools and methods which aim is to measure data linked to the body, health, and a person general state. Conferences are occurring regularly in order to present new collected data and their usefulness.