I’ve written before about the potential for user-generated health data to transform the medical research process. Indeed, a recent report from the Richmond Group of Medical Charities highlighted the potential for data to make a real difference.
“Healthcare data is one of the NHS’s most precious resources. It allows individuals to be empowered in their own care, medical professionals to improve and tailor individual treatments and the system as a whole to learn and increase its understanding of what causes disease, how it can be prevented and how it should best be treated,” the report says.
One of the more interesting companies operating in this field is Validic. They allow user-generated data from mobile apps and wearable devices to be shared and merged with data contained in electronic patient records.
The company recently announced a partnership with The Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust of the National Health Service (NHS) to develop a new model of integrated care in the UK.
New Models of Care
The project will allow patients to integrate data from their wearable devices, health apps and home medical devices with their official medical records. The goal is to test how this richer dataset can improve patient care and engagement.
Initially, sleep and fitness data will be integrated into the patient record, but if this initial pilot goes well, there is potential to significantly expand this to cover the full spectrum of data sources offered via Validic, which currently includes some 400 clinical, fitness, biometric, lab, and lifestyle data sources.
“Salford Royal is making personal health data actionable and valuable to both providers and patients by enabling access to the needed insights and context,” Validic says. “By placing a focus on preventative and personalized care, Salford Royal is pioneering how data are used to improve the affordability and accessibility of healthcare.”
The data will be pooled together and both clinicians and researchers will be able to identify trends, correlations, and causations. This will hopefully enable us to gain a much better understanding of each patient’s condition, and therefore design better ways of managing and treating those conditions.
“Digital technology needs to be improved across the NHS to facilitate data collection and sharing; data should be collected more consistently across all disease types and in all places of care,” the Richmond Group paper said. “All this represents a significant amount of work. Improving infrastructure, changing practice and building trust are not quick to do. However, we must be ambitious. We have never before had access to the volume of data or technological power to analyze it, that we have today. We must use this opportunity to bring about improvements in treatment and care for people across the NHS.”
Hopefully, this is the first of many initiatives that will fully begin to grasp the nettle and start improving services for patients via the use of data.