I had the opportunity to attend Health Datapalooza today and dive deeper into the conversation of health data and data analytics. The topic of data and how it can be used both effectively and strategically for consumers and providers seemed to be at the top of everyone’s mind, ranging from big pharmaceutical companies to the federal government to start-ups in Silicon Valley.
The field of health data has advanced in the last few years with the release of big datasets from the federal government. In addition, the way health metrics are gathered from consumers with the invention of such technologies as the Fitbit and MyFitnessPal has also changed the game. While these advances are positive and highly welcomed by the industry, most people, including me, probably came into the conference with the question: “What do we do now with the health data that has been collected?”
One of the breakout sessions I attended during the conference, “We’re Swimming in Data; Now How Do We Build Business Models that Allow Us to Use It,” aimed to address this issue. Several experts in both the public and private sectors came to the conclusion that the data should be used to make the best decision for each patient. By making relevant and significant health information available, consumers can feel more empowered to take control of their health decisions.
“Data isn’t helpful unless someone can easily find it, understand it, and act on it.”
–David Vivero, panelist and CEO of Amino
When consumers understand the data and act on it to improve their health outcomes, we will see a dramatic shift in the pendulum. Understanding the data and acting on it is exactly where the role of a communicator comes in. Being able to clearly communicate how data can impact real people living in real communities is an important and vital role in the health data and data analytics field. Making sense of the numbers and knowing how trends in the data can empower a patient to make decisions for his or her health is a significant part of the process.
Tomorrow I will discuss how communicators can tell the story behind the numbers by exploring some methods for bridging the gap between the data and the audience. I look forward to attending more sessions and sharing my insights on this blog!