Healthcare by the Numbers

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Today’s guest post is from Brady Walcott, VP of Strategic Marketing and Development at imcǬ≤ health & wellness.

825. 750. 622.

This is not a phone number. Or a GPS location. But one of those numbers could be your credit score. And while the majority of Americans dont know their credit score by heart, many can tell you they know how to find it. As we live our financial lives, the good folks at Experian and Equifax silently assemble a wealth of information from multiple sources to let the guys down at the car dealership know if were worth the risk.

Imagine if you could do that for your health? Management guru Peter Drucker once famously said, “You cant manage what you cant measure. And while a few diagnostic numbers are readily available to us¢‚Ǩ”BMI, PSA, LDL, HDL and the rest of the alphabet soup¢‚Ǩ”we have yet to find a way to measure holistic health and wellness. But we might be getting close.

At industry events such as Health 2.0, mHealth, TedMed¢‚Ǩ”even CES¢‚Ǩ”Ive seen a proliferation of health and wellness products in the start-up phase or recently launched in market. As a self-professed health nut and gadget guy, I have personally tested many of the most popular on the market. Each with their own coolness factor, I often wonder if any have the ability to change my health behaviors, facilitate a deeper dialogue with my healthcare provider or improve my health. They definitely empower us to measure our behavior, but that doesnt necessarily lead to measurable outcome.

Now is the time for the industry to align and move toward using data collection platforms to help proactive consumers understand how to use this information to make more informed decisions about their personal health and wellness. Doing so is a daunting task and will require the following:

1. A holistic predictive model. Can we start to merge the diagnostics used in major therapy areas to form a broader assessment of overall health risk? Successful evidence of this is available in the cardiovascular and endocrinology categories ¢‚Ǩ”can we create a more holistic view based on known and quantifiable numbers? A view possibly inclusive of genomics data and wellness related sources such as fitness devices and applications.

2. An understanding of subjective factors. How do we recognize the impact of environmental factors like stress, geography and workplace settings? How does our psychology impact our physiology?

3. A simplified scoring system. Despite the complex algorithms that determine our credit score, the result is something so simple it has become universal. Can we achieve an analog in preventative medicine that would make discussing health risks and opportunities an accessible conversation?

I realize many Americans arent as inclined to take this proactive approach to their health some may even fear it. But maybe thats because the whole issue of health and wellness seems to be an overwhelming onslaught of test results and to-do lists rather than a portfolio of decisions you can actually impact. Regardless, I believe there is great opportunity to advance the way we view our personal health as a preventative measure and am optimistic about the advancements that have been made in recent years.

Brady Walcott imc2 ABOUT BRADY WALCOTT

As a practice leader forimcǬ≤ health & wellness, Brady pulls from his 20+ years of experience in the healthcare sector to provide guidance to an array of industry leading health and wellness companies.He strives to deepen relationships with stakeholders using a sustainable approach that leads to measurable business results, long-term value, and an overall positive impact.To hear more from Brady, follow him on Twitter@BradyWalcott or connect with him onLinkedIn.

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