The Quantified Self in Healthcare

May 3, 2010

In the New York Times Sunday Magazine, an article by a Wired editor, talks about the growing trend of the Quantified Self, or the data driven life. Why is this becoming a real trend? “Four things changed.

  1. electronic sensors got smaller and better.
  2. people started carrying powerful computing devices, typically disguised as mobile phones.
  3. social media made it seem normal to share everything.
  4. we began to get an inkling of the rise of a global superintelligence known as the cloud.”

While more people are creating catalogs of various aspects of their lives, some specific healthcare examples are cited including “where more than 30,000 new personal tracking projects are started by users every month” and CureTogether.

Also, in FastCompany, an article title Our Bodies, Our Quantified Selves, they note that “there may actually be some meaningful upsides to this radical transparency.” Particularly the opportunity for medical research on this exponentially growing volume of data.

To me, this is the obvious next big thing in health care. The only question is how to channel the energy of this new trend into meaningful information for the individual and society.

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2 Responses to “The Quantified Self in Healthcare”

  1. Ray Hutchins says:

    Data is getting deeper every minute…but how to understand it and how to map it is the challenge. Ontologies will be part of the answer bu it’s not easy finding people who understand otologies and know how to incorporate ontologies in software applications.

    A small privately held SaaS development company based in Colorado that has developed and deployed an ontologically-based, GIS integrated disease management decision support system in Africa to fight malaria. This is a significant system that was funded by the global combatants of this disease and the system can be rapidly customized for deployment to other disease environments…especially if you are talking about vector-borne disease. The company, TerraFrame TerraFrame is interested in leveraging its technology to fight global diseases or other problems requiring better decision support systems and is happy to entertain creative conversations to that effect.

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