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A Healthy Dose of Data

As a clinician, when called upon to make a timely and accurate diagnosis and to sort through the decision-making process around treatment, my most potent weapon is readily-available data. Evidence-based medicine requires vast amounts of data, both about individual patients and about the most effective treatments, based on experience with large populations.

In the case of my individual patients, I need ready access to several types of data. Historical data might come from the electronic medical records (EMR) or healthcare information exchange (HIE) systems. Increasingly, clinical data (from hospital-based medical devices, for example) is available to me as well, often in real-time. And, with the explosion of home-based and wearable devices, fitness and wellness data are also increasingly at my disposal.

This 360-degree view of my patient is made possible by the fact that all these sources are connected through the Internet of Things (IoT).  A look at treating heart disease provides an example of just how the IoT can help me provide more comprehensive and effective care to my patients.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of death worldwide, so it's on the top of everyone's agenda. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2012 alone CVD accounted for nearly one-third of all global deaths, some 17.5 million people worldwide. That's more than the entire population of the Netherlands lost in one year!

To read the rest of this article, visit EBN sister site EDN.

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