Health Datapalooza IV: The Health for America Summer Fellows were engaged and ready to hit the ground running. At Health Datapalooza, which was held on June 3-4 in Washington, DC, we networked with many healthcare and technology professionals and learned about the innovative methods being used to improve health using data.
On Day 1, we were captivated by the presentation given by the Secretary of State for Health from the United Kingdom, Jeremy Hunt, on why the UK is at the forefront of healthcare delivery. Mr. Hunt identified three important stages in revolutionizing healthcare, including the power of data, transactional progress, and putting patients in control of their health.
Patient control of health resonated with us. It is time to “put patients in the driving seat of
their own healthcare,” emphasized Mr. Hunt. This is critical, as patients need to start posing questions about their health and deciding what treatment is best.
By listening to Mr. Hunt, our Fellowship team is one step closer to answering the question, “What is the best way to help people suffering from childhood asthma?” As we continue on our journey, patient involvement in care will inform what technologies and strategies we use to enable better health outcomes for children suffering from asthma.
Day 2 of Health Datapalooza emphasized the importance of the “liberation of health data” to improve care delivery, empower patients, and reduce costs.
In an afternoon breakout session, Susannah Fox, an associate director at Pew Research, shared some impressive statistics. 7 out of 10 U.S. adults track their weight, diet, or exercise. 1 in 3 adults track health indicators or symptoms. We do it too.
Another panelist Roger Magoulas, emphasized the need for an open dialogue between patients and doctors about tracking health data to improve medical decisions. Jodi Daniel echoed Magoulas’ sentiments, stating that electronic health records should be accessible to all patients to increase self-management, generate patient-doctor discussions, and encourage shared decision-making in healthcare.
Several panelists identified mobile technology as a powerful tool to improve healthcare. User-friendly, sharable apps that allow patients and doctors to easily use health data are key. For example, iTriage is a mobile app that enables patients to learn about diseases, locate nearby healthcare providers, and store medical records. Apps such as this are what the Health for America team should strive to achieve when developing our project: an integrated, user-friendly, and consumer-driven product.
Overall, our important take-aways are that self-tracking health data motivates and empowers both patients and providers. It’s time for us to value this and continue developing convenient ways to track our health and make it available for use.