'Small' as important as 'big' when it comes to healthcare data

There's a lot of talk about big data in the healthcare industry these days, but what about small data? Writing for InformationWeek, Larry Stofko, executive vice president of the Innovation Institute at St. Joseph Health System in Orange County, California, says the latter is just as important.

The big question when it comes to healthcare, according to Stofko, is: "Can we make personal care seamless, simple and inexpensive?" He goes on to say that the best way to do that is through "personal" health management tools that can manage individuals' health in a passive way or a way that results from tasks already in place.

Stofko points to his own framework for a "Personalized Medicine Model" to guide self-monitoring and care. The framework includes four interconnected areas: Genetic, lifestyle, interventional and monitoring.

"Genetic data is supported by both lifestyle and interventional data, and the monitoring function tracks and balances it all," he writes.

Monitoring tools growth is on the rise, and is expected to continue through 2019, according to a Transparency Market Research report.

Stofko says that billions of dollars could be saved if we can connect the dots between small data, which maximizes individual care, and big data, which uncovers solutions that can have a global impact.

However, deterrents to capitalizing on small data remain. Currently, physicians may not understand the benefits of personal health platforms, he says, pointing to Google Fit and Apple's HealthKit (which we should learn more about on Tuesday). Only time will show whether providers will tap the power of these tools.

But with the implementation of electronic health records, Stofko hopes physicians will see the benefit of having those records connect with personal health platforms to create the "seamless, simple, and inexpensive solution we are looking for."

To learn more:
- read the InformationWeek article