February 9, 2015
So much of analytics and healthcare IT becomes focused on understanding what we should do, that we miss that data and analysis may identify things we should not do.
In my recent physical I had a few days ago, my doctor spent a fair amount of time talking about the routine tests that I did not need to get. He cited how certain tests and “standard procedures” may actually cause more harm than good.
We tend to think of tests as innocuous, but based upon my genomic information (which I shared with my doctor) my risk factors for some things were so low, that certain tests are not deemed necessary. While other areas, like my 4.8X factor for certain heart conditions means that I will likely be more focused on aspects of heart health (and yes, I just finished doing my cardio today).
The value of personalized medicine, clinical informatics and data-driven medicine is that we will have the facts we need to apply the tools of modern medicine in a more focused manner, and in doing so fulfill the ancient tradition of “first, do no harm”.
This article describes the pros and cons of getting treated in a great manner, and illuminates how we would approach our decisions for treatment differently if we thought about the combined benefit and risks (via The New York Times).