Data driven medicine is patient-centred medicine

Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to intelligence demonstrated by technology rather than human intelligence. It is used in many platforms ranging from business sectors to educational institutions as well as the banking industry. These sectors all heavily rely on AI to ensure that they are providing a better service to their consumers. AI is also being increasingly utilised within the healthcare industry. Different fields within the healthcare sector such as pharmaceutical companies, research laboratories, and health insurance companies have had stocks of readily available data for decades. It has been revealed that healthcare providers throw away a staggering 90% of the data that they generate. If these providers started using this data wisely it could literally save lives!

Considering the scientific use of big data, one can analyse an individual’s genome sequence to enable healthcare professionals to develop tailored treatment regimens that would work best for the individual’s needs. Thanks to the Swiss company ‘Sophia Genetics’ an AI device called SOPHIA does exactly this. SOPHIA is used to read genetic codes in order to diagnose diseases and identify genetic predispositions. It combines data, analysis, expert opinion and medical science to create a diagnosis which will help the healthcare professional provide a personalised treatment for the individual. This device is now available in 850 hospitals across 77 countries and has tested 250,000 patients. This demonstrates how data driven medicine has made its way into hospitals and the impact it is having on patient care.

Data can also provide predictive information from examining an individual’s daily life. This can be done by using devices such as ‘Fitbits’ which is a watch that can track many activities ranging from steps walked to quality of sleep and even heart rate. By collecting this valuable data, the healthcare consumer is able to take control and is more aware of their overall health condition. Another way data driven medicine can be beneficial in an individual’s daily life is with the management of medicine at home. It has been estimated that 50% of patients do not take their prescribed medicine as directed by their doctor. However, there is a solution to this, there are now so many applications available on smartphones which can remind the patient when to take their medicine for example ‘MyMeds’, ‘Pill Reminder’, ‘RxmindMe’, the list goes on. By using these applications, the individual will be taking prescriptions as directed and, as a result, their health could improve considerably.

Data driven medicine is changing lives and research within this area is increasing. For example, The Welcome Sanger Institute is one of the largest contributors to genome projects and is using big data to investigate the common causes of premature death. This suggests that data driven medicine can influence the healthcare industry in a variety of ways. It can predict common causes of a disease, it can be used for personalised treatment, it can be used to keep track of any medication that needs taking. The advantages of data driven medicine are endless and the fact that it is saving lives and improving healthcare establishes that it should be given as much attention as possible.

Talwinder Kaur

Epidemiology Analyst