In the recent White House Frontiers Conference, U.S. President Barack Obama shared the next step in his Precision Medicine Initiative: taking advantage of big data. The initiative seeks to integrate different systems to maximize research and provide better treatment for citizens nationwide. With integration comes the ability to provide better healthcare through individualized data for patients.
Empowering patients will be the main thrust of the Precision Medicine Initiative, so that patients will not feel lost in an intricate and disjointed system, according to Live Science. Patients will have complete access to their medical history, and with big data being utilized by the health care system, treatments can be individualized for every patient that walks into any hospital in the country.
"We're trying to promote the notion that this data belongs to you, the patient, as opposed to the institution that is treating you," Obama said as he spoke on the Precision Medicine panel about health information, according to UCSF. "Once you understand that it's yours and you have agency, as you consult with doctors, you're able to be a more effective advocate for your health," he said.
Obama will take advantage of Big Data to accelerate the research process in curing diseases. He's hoping that with the databases to be built through the integration of the systems, it would serve as a foundation to provide individualized care once all the information is accessible to everyone.
Big data may already be in place for the health industry, as apps that focus on health, nutrition and fitness can readily share the data they gather. Although the information is concerning for privacy issues, the structure is in place, and with Obama promising the security of the sensitive medical information, the initiative may find footing amidst US citizens.
The government is hoping that this will entice people to sign up for Obamacare, since it has faced many challenges since its inception in 2010, and is currently amidst a burgeoning crisis. With people opting out of the government's health plan, the advantages of big data in the health industry may provide the push it needs towards a better direction.