The January Issue of Consumer Reports includes a readers' survey of diet programs. The number one choice was a free smart-phone app and website.
Over the past few months, I have blogged about a number of aspects of mobile health, from new tricks for doctors to consumers using mobile devices to track health and disease. At this point, I see two major questions we can use to frame our discussion next Saturday:
1) What other ways can mobile technology be used to improve health and disease management?
The general public has already started tracking themselves. Medical providers need to harness the power of this monitoring and, perhaps, develop new models for its use. What conditions could benefit from 24/7 connectivity and tracking? How can we help people live better with a chronic disorder?
2) How can we harness all of these data to learn more about health management while respecting individual privacy concerns?
The books I reviewed on these topics all envision a future in which knowledge of a person's genome and circumstances will lead to appropriate preventive, individualized care. To get to that future, we need to know how all of these things interact and associate in large populations. It seems ironic that huge population-based studies are necessary to promote individualized care, but there you are. Many people have already shared their data in repositories for genetic information and other stuff. However, at present there is no way to link health data from providers, laboratories, personal tracking and other venues to study what predicts what. Talk about Big Data! Not only do we have to learn how to handle these massive information sets, but we also need to do it in a manner that respects individual privacy and autonomy.
These two Big Questions capture a whole bunch of sub-questions. Please post your thoughts below, including any aspects of the topic we may have missed. We will include as much from our online audience as we can, and I promise to provide a follow-up post here for further review and discussion.
I leave for Raleigh tomorrow; let the games begin!