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Where Will Healthcare's Data Scientists Find The Rich Phenotypic Data They Need?

Where Will Healthcare's Data Scientists Find The Rich Phenotypic Data They Need? | healthcare technology |

The big hairy audacious goal of most every data scientist I know in healthcare is what you might call the Integrated Medical Record, or IMR, a dataset that combines detailed genetic data and rich phenotypic information, including both clinical and “real-world” (or, perhaps, “dynamic”) phenotypic data (the sort you might get from wearables).

The gold standard for clinical phenotyping are academic clinical studies (like ALLHAT and the Dallas Heart Study).  These studies are typically focused on a disease category (e.g. cardiovascular), and the clinical phenotyping on these subjects – at least around the areas of scientific interest — is generally superb.  The studies themselves can be enormous, are often multi-institutional, and typically create a database that’s independent of the hospital’s medical record.

Inevitably, large, prospective studies can take many years to complete.  In addition, there’s generally not much real world/dynamic measurement.

The other obvious source for phenotypic data is the electronic medical record (EMR).  The logic is simple: every patient has a medical record, and increasingly, especially in hospital systems, this is electronic – i.e. an EMR.  EMRs (examples include Epic and Cerner) generally contain lab values, test reports, provider notes, and medication and problem lists.  In theory, this should offer a broad, rich, and immediately available source of data for medical discovery.

DIY (enabled by companies such as PatientsLikeMe) represents another approach to phenotyping, and allows patients to share data with other members of the community.  The obvious advantages here include the breadth and richness of data associated with what can be an unfiltered patient perspective – to say nothing of the benefit of patient empowerment.  An important limitation is that the quality and consistency of the data is obviously highly dependent upon the individuals posting the information.

Pharma clinical trials would seem to represent another useful opportunity for phenotyping, given the focus on specific conditions and the rigorous attention to process and detail characteristic of pharmaceutical studies.  However, pharma studies tend to be extremely focused, and companies are typically reluctant to expand protocols to pursue exploratory endpoints if there’s any chance this will diminish recruitment or adversely impact the development of the drug.

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Consumer electronics industry is heading toward world of wearables and sensors

Consumer electronics industry is heading toward world of wearables and sensors | healthcare technology |

The consumer electronics industry is expanding beyond its traditional borders as consumers start to adopt technologies that make use of ubiquitous computing power, sensors, and wearable product designs.

Shawn Dubravac, chief economist of the Consumer Electronics Association, made this observation of the industry at the first press event at the 2014 International CES, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week.

Among the trends he sees taking hold are mass customization, thanks to technologies like 3D printing. The 3D printing companies like Maker Bot have their own space at the show now, 7,000 square feet of exhibits, and it’s sold out. He believes about 99,000 3D printers will ship in 2014.

Consumers are also embracing lots of new screens in their lives. As an example, tablets didn’t exist as a big market in 2009. But now, in the U.S., Dubravac said that tablet ownership is expected to exceed 50 percent of households once the numbers from the holiday season are tallied up.

He also said that wearables and the spread of mobile devices are making more new technologies possible. And many of these new devices are autonomous, or able to do smart things on their via robotics or artificial intelligence.

Dubravac said that mobile devices are expected to outnumber computing devices sold to date sometime in 2014 or 2015.

BandKids13-14's curator insight, January 7, 2014 10:19 AM

The electronics industry is advancing very quickly. The future is coming and its coming fast. Its crazy that people waste their money on these acessories. Thers really no need or use for them. You can function in the world without them. People have have before and they still will.


shamlabeth's curator insight, January 7, 2014 7:26 PM

To me the new and improved technology is a real eye opener. As the years go by many things are coming and going. In this article Dubravac is right about old technology we do begin to waste. What scares me the most is we will soon be able to operate things with our eyes.~Amanda

Emma Baker's curator insight, November 16, 2014 2:20 PM

Wearable technologies are making new technologies a possibility and are inspiring new gadgets and ideas. It seems that with every new wearable gadget there are updates. 

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