The future of medicine is personal - Happy + Well : Happy + Well

The future of medicine is personal

Written by on April 2, 2016 in Digital Health with 0 Comments

Goetz, Thomas, Image 250x200The convergence of genomics, data and wearables is empowering individuals to make real choices and decisions about their everyday health, according to Iodine co-founder Thomas Goetz.

Opening The Digital Health Show in Sydney yesterday (1 April 2016), Mr Goetz said the near future was real people sharing real experience in the real world, which resulted in the delivery of better medicine.

However he said there was still a gap between what people wanted, and what they got.

“We need to correlate clinical values with human values and make them close and significant,” he said. “Medicine isn’t scientific, it’s human – so this means it gets messy.”

In the pursuit of better health, Mr Goetz said we needed to resist the “cult” of collecting passive data and focus more on people’s intentional activities to change or improve their health.

“It’s no good giving someone a dashboard, if they don’t have a steering wheel,” he said. “Overwhelming people with colourful charts and diagrams from wearable technologies isn’t necessarily the answer.”

Rather, active, intentional activities – such as weighing yourself daily, or taking a regular body measurement – have shown to deliver better outcomes, he said. “The activity needs to be enough to remind someone that they remain on course,” he said.

He also said users of wearable technologies needed to be aware of what was being measured, and why it mattered. For example, he said the idea of doing 10,000 steps a day was a random decision by a Japanese company in the1960s – because it was a good, round number – and this had now become the benchmark of passive data.

New wearable technology also needed to “play by the rules by which ordinary people judge and value”. He said technologies needed to be clear, valid, transparent and private, offering an opportunity to opt in or out.

Mr Goetz is the former executive editor of Wired Magazine and author of The Decision Tree: Taking Control of Your Health in the New Era of Personalised Medicine.

This article was blogged live at The Digital Health Show by Alex Lilly and Jenny Donnithorne from Mint Health.


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