Overcoming the fear factor to advance consumer health

By Ian Marks and Craig Lipset, MM&M

When you’re lost, navigation apps like Waze help you to find your way. They “know” what’s happening up ahead beyond your view, and put you on the right road. Waze adds a special twist beyond conventional GPS, gathering data from other drivers to help you navigate around traffic and construction to the best possible route. For the user, it’s real-time magic; navigation apps collect, integrate and analyze data instantaneously, providing immediate, tangible, decision-making value without users ever thinking about it.

Health data hold the same potential magic, but with the power to do much, much more. By gathering, analyzing and sharing data, we can put greater knowledge in consumers’ hands, enabling them to make informed choices and better direct their own wellness and healthcare journeys. These data can provide a nudge to eat right, sleep on a better schedule and make the right healthcare choices – from remembering to take medications to selecting optimal treatment for disease to understanding new research opportunities.

How do we get consumers to see the value of sharing information before they become sick? That’s a question that the NIH is exploring as part of its “All of Us” research program, which seeks to engage over one million Americans, both sick and well, to share their health data.

These tools are on the way to becoming so integrated as to be invisible – much like the data-gathering in Waze. They’re set to improve interoperability, making self-care the new normal.

But before that happens, we need more data. And to get there, we need to get past understandable consumer fears. Read more …