Fewer Forms, Less Pain: My Vision of Data for Good

By Garrett Wu, CTO

When I injured my wrist snowboarding, the doctor on the mountain didn’t know if the bone was broken or sprained. He told me to go to the ER if it still hurt the next day. The next morning, the triage nurse at the ER could tell it was broken right when I walked in the door! The ER doctor didn’t know whether I needed to have surgery, so he made me a temporary cast and referred me to an orthopedic surgeon. A few days later, when I found time with the specialist, he ran the same X-rays again and relied on me (!) to accurately report everything the ER doctors did and said.

This rigmarole is familiar to anyone who has had an injury that required a specialist or had symptoms linked to a handful of potential causes. You go back and forth between doctors who run the same tests and rely on you to recount everything, resulting in months of trial and error before identifying the right treatment.

We could be doing much better.

We have the technology to centralize data and communicate it to the people who need it to make decisions. Though there’s plenty of nontechnical work to be done before we can apply WibiData’s technology to healthcare, we’re developing the tools to make predictions and decisions in real time based on what I think will eventually become ubiquitous: shared patient information across healthcare providers.

In a world where we take advantage of big data technologies, my health information — my diet, heart rate, blood pressure, and cholesterol — could all be monitored through existing technologies like wearables and Internet of Things. Systems like WibiData could be making predictions about my cholesterol level, for example, based on my genetic predispositions, recent diet, level of exercise and a whole host of other relevant attributes.

Instead of going to the doctor just once a year, we’ll receive continuous feedback about our health, along with predictions about potential health problems and measures we can take to prevent them. Doctors might know what’s going on before we even arrive at their offices, and I hope to never have to fill out those stupid forms again.

With our collected information immediately accessible and our medical care personalized, we’ll spend less time waiting for results to be processed, specialists to coordinate or treatments to fail. We’ll spend less time in uncertainty, risk and pain.

This post is part of a blog series, inspired by the Data for Good movement, describing how WibiData’s leaders envision data impacting society for the better. If you have a story about how your life could have been improved by better use of data or how you see data improving the future, submit a guest post to social@wibidata.com or tweet to @WibiData with the hashtag #Data4Good.

Garrett Wu founded WibiData in 2010 and serves as the company’s Chief Technology Officer. He built the first version of WibiData’s platform, which understands, analyzes and serves user data. Previously, he was the technical lead of Google’s personalized recommendations team.

Originally published at www.wibidata.com.

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