Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Patients who self track their data: Curb your enthusiasm

From the 17 January 2013 article by  at KevinMD.com

1. There’s not strong data to support self-tracking.  We can make some inferences about how self-tracking would work in a clinical setting by looking at the studies done on telemonitoring, which also generates a large volume of attribute-rich data.  Some studies have shown benefit in outcomes, especially for diseases like diabetesCOPD, and hypertension.  However, hard measures like mortality have not been improved by telemonitoring devices.  Data on hospitalization and ED visits, especially in the elderly, have been mixed.  People (especially the engineers who created these wonderful devices and apps) love to think that more data points are better. But to date, we just don’t have a robust set of well controlled studies telling us what self-tracking is useful for, what devices or apps to use, how to interpret the data, or how to integrate it into medical care.

2. Physicians may not want the data.  Imagine that a 45-year old man who had just started exercising after years of inactivity gives their doctor all of their heart rate measurements from the past month.  All 5000 measurements.  There’s no way their physician is going to want to touch that data.  Buried inside those data points will be erroneous and clinically meaningless measurements which, without review and context, will be fodder for trial lawyers when something bad happens.  It’s data overload to the Nth degree, because let’s face it … anything can be tracked.  Once data gets put into the medical record, it’s assumed the physician has reviewed the data and acted on it accordingly.  No one wants something in the patient’s chart that not only has limited medical use but carries substantial legal risk.

Finally, we need to pay physicians to analyze and counsel about the data, similar to how we pay for EKG interpretation or reading an x-ray.   Fee-for-service still rules the roost, and nothing gets done unless someone pays for it…

 

Read the entire article here

January 18, 2013 - Posted by | health care | , ,

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