Start With the Data to Improve the Future of Healthcare

by Elise Michaels

We take our mastery of language for granted even though it is the way we share thoughts and ideas, communicate on a global scale, and understand each other. Since the advent of the internet, language has been taken to the next level—translated and transformed into sets of numbers and letters that can be collected and interpreted. The languages used to build websites and the technology for storing data have made recording user experiences in real time possible. Our offline behavior is influenced by tools with the ability to analyze, interpret, and target our online behaviors. It is from these data sources that we understand how people are starting to embrace autonomy with respect to their personal healthcare. Consumers are increasingly involved with their own health and as a result are more willing to share their personal data to improve the patient experience for themselves and others. A study conducted by Stanford Medicine in 2017 revealed that patients are more cognizant of their healthcare than ever before due to the onset of passive monitoring devices and at-home genetic testing. This continuous input of data that can be shared across healthcare channels provides healthcare providers (HCPs) with a stronger basis for diagnoses, efficient care methods, and a way to track health history.

Although the consumer attitude is changing with regards to information sharing in healthcare, integration of the data shared is a long process. Channels that could provide valuable insights into a person’s health history are segregated by terms of data ownership and software designed without cross-channel data sharing. The information exists, but a standardized means of synthesizing the information is needed to unlock its potential.

The implementation of open-sourced data sharing among healthcare channels completely changes the ways in which patients seek and receive care. HCPs can derive conclusions that are personalized to each patient using open access to de-identified data about other patients with similar health patterns and disease history rather than relying on broad statistics. Research into disease states will have increasingly specific demographic information that directs the courses of study. Through these advances made possible by data sharing, care shifts from being reactionary and generalized to being preventative and catered to the individual.

With the shift in healthcare that will occur from open-sourcing our data, we will see a change in how we target individuals with our messaging efforts. It is important to consider that the point of access to shared information continues to be data collected from personal wearable technology. In a survey conducted by Deloitte in 2018, 60% of consumers said they would be willing to share with their physician the personal data from their wearable devices to improve their health. This data will not only influence healthcare outcomes but will also educate consumers on the benefits that data sharing can have on the care they receive. Due to this growing public interest in collecting and sharing data, it will be easier to identify and classify who should receive which messages. The resulting marketing efforts will create an experience that is informed and individually targets HCPs and consumers.

Open-sourcing personal health information is the key to improving the healthcare experience and influencing many of our brand-building decisions. The growth of personalized medicine needs to be accompanied by a mutual growth in personalized messaging, which is only made possible by having systems in place to share and analyze data across different spaces. With this data, we can unlock new markets, identify which messages people are looking for, and deliver a story that HCPs and consumers alike will respond to. Data is the new language that we must master so that information can be synthesized into useable insights and used to strengthen the quality of communication from brand to target.