The next health care revolution is data-driven

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We don’t practice “healthcare” in Nigeria. It’s actually something more like Sickcare, Our hospitals are more like repair stations for humans. All-day we live as though we were 100% healthy until a casualty happens and we are writhing in pains or our body temperature is above 39 degrees Celsius. 

On really unfortunate cases, some get to discover it’s not malaria or typhoid or any other of the common ailments. It’s a life-threatening complication. that if discovered early, could have been cured.

It is very improbable that anyone wakes up with a life-threatening disease. It’s been developing inside the patient, they simply weren’t aware of it. 

What true healthcare should be

Imagine you woke up one morning feeling great and full of life then your doctor calls to inform you of some worrying developments he has noticed from the recent data trend logged by your wearables and implantable sensors. Especially in a part of the body where your gene sequence predicted you might have problems.

Human Longevity, Inc. (HLI), for example, digitizes you to determine if you might have some developing health problems. In 2018, 14.4 per cent of 1190 tests carried out on clients showed significant and actionable findings that required immediate medical intervention. 

On 40 per cent of the screened clients, HLI discovered long-term clinical cases (some life-threatening). It becomes quickly evident that most of us don’t know our actual health status. You can only help what you know.

54gene is accumulating genomic data of Africans. Because the genomic data of Africans is utilised in developing many new drugs and vaccines. This can result in drugs or vaccines that are ineffective on Africans.

Google is developing a full range of internal and external sensors (e.g. smart contact lenses). They can monitor the wearer’s vitals, ranging from blood sugar levels to blood chemistry.

Harry Glorikian in his book MoneyBall Medicine: Thriving in the New Data-Driven Healthcare Market is optimistic. However, noting, “We see data-driven initiatives in some unexpected places, such as rural hospitals that are leveraging the power of data and analytics to help weather the incredible financial and staffing challenges they face”.

We will not longer need to wait hours for the analysis and interpretation of blood test or urine test results by a doctors. Big Medical and health data promise a new type of healthcare quite different from what currently exists. It’s going to be awesome.

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