Data, Meet Human: How We Must Use Both

June 8, 2018

Categories: Thought Leadership


In a health crisis as complex as the opioid epidemic, accurate collection and analysis of data is critical. In a recent article, The Washington Post recognized that in battling America’s opioid crisis, a lack of accurate information is causing medical leaders to over-correct the issue, harming non-addicts. As the former surgeon general, Vivek H. Murthy, so eloquently said, “We have to be careful of using a blunt instrument where a fine scalpel is needed.” That fine tuning happens when big data turns into data-based precision medicine. 

Although a term new to most patients (66% in fact—according to a recent survey by the Personalized Medicine Coalition and GenomeWeb), personalized or “precision medicine” could be one of the answers to the opioid epedimic. In the most simpliest of terms, precision medicine takes into account a patient’s genes, enviornment and lifstyle in order to predict which type of care and prevention strategy would work best. It is at this moment in treatment that an important introduction is made.

Data, meet Human. Human, meet Data.

As technology advances, as opioid deaths rise, and as data collection only increases, it is important that we—in the healthcare IT industry—remember that we cannot have one (data) without the other (human). Bernie Monegain, Editor-at-Large for Healthcare IT News and Women in Health IT, put it best when she wrote, “If physicians and caregivers just focus on… genetics without taking into account who the patients are as people, to better understand their activity and behavior, then they will be missing a big part of what drives an individual’s health.”

As evidenced by precision medicine success stories, there is a long-term and mutually benefitial relationship developing between Data and Human. Here at CNSI, we look forward to being a part of this partnship and using it to positively impact lives.