Jeff Rowe, Editor, Future Care

Jeff Rowe is the editor of Future Care and a veteran healthcare journalist and blogger who has reported extensively on initiatives to improve the healthcare system at the local, regional and national level.

Expert: behavioral data holds key to developing precision medicine

May 16, 2017 AT 1:36 PM

How much can healthcare be like Netflix?

Much more than it is today, says India Hook-Barnard, director of research strategy and associate director of precision medicine at the University of California in San Francisco. 

Pointing recently to the online streaming giant’s use of behavior data to recommend movies and shows to customers, Hook-Barnard told HealthcareIt News, “We are not applying that same kind of data understanding in healthcare today and we really should be, and will be in the future. 

It will really be disruptive in the same way that we have seen with marketing, the way we’ve changed how we shop – the way we use data to do a better job is something we’ve done in many other realms of our lives, even down to what kind of movie Netflix suggests.”

Hook-Barnard will discuss precision medicine issues at the HIMSS and Healthcare IT News Precision Medicine Summit, June 12-13, 2017, in Boston, during a session entitled “Precision medicine is more than genomics.”

In the realm of population health, Hook-Barnard said, there is an opportunity to better understand why in certain populations – whether it’s ethnic or ZIP codes – people may be at a higher risk of cancer or other diseases. And treating people one can identify through genomics or population health measures at an earlier stage will also make healthcare more cost-effective.

“The future of healthcare is being able to use data from a variety of areas, whether understanding the mechanisms of diseases when you are healthy, understanding better clinical care, understanding population health and the environment around that,” she said. “All of that different data will be better used and analyzed to then be able to give us better predictions and preventative measures, to keep us healthy and help with early diagnostics and screenings, and help us identify new drugs and therapies.”