Data Science in Healthcare

PHDInsight8-04

It seems like in the world of health tech, we tend to focus more on the “tech” and less on the “health.”

How many times do we need to be reminded of the fact that exercise and diet are the key contributors to our health? In other words, we have the rational basis for improving our health and for knowledge that should lead to changes in how we try to be healthy.  Most health apps and interventions focus on this rational bases for improving health; they focus mainly on monitoring and reporting some of the key facets for how we can be healthy.  These apps can be very useful, but they require a large degree of intrinsic motivation for them to be used and for them to tell a story about how to be healthy.  What’s missing is the holistic understanding of health that looks at people as people–full of hopes, dreams and desires, and knowledge of health data that helps them meet these needs.  Some of the most successful health apps are not health apps at all–how many extra steps do you think people have taken while playing Pokemon Go?  Because we like to focus on the “rational” causes of behavior, we’re often puzzled by the fact that people maintain poor health habits in spite of overwhelming evidence.  PhD Insight’s approach is to think carefully about the whole person involved, and how their health decisions and habits may be shaped by their entire personal and social contexts.  What’s more, given our background in neuroscience, we are well suited to understand the biology of health and to be able to identify the key predictors in how successful a health intervention will be–how much we can put the health back in “health tech.”

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