Do doctors even WANT your data?

SXSW was a blast this year.  As expected, a good blend of fun, learning, and exposure to real forward-thinking technologists which makes the experience better than any other conference going.

This year, I was very intrigued by the increased interest and conversation around health/wellness and medtech, especially regarding wearables and the copious personalized data they record and produce.  How will this data play into personalized care models and potentially disrupt the patient/doctor dynamic?

The net/net? Don’t hold your breath. (Seriously: don’t, it can be hazardous to your health). While there is value in the data that various wearables are producing, doctors at this point generally just don’t want it.

Why you ask? The primary reasons fall into three categories:

1) Uncertainty about the accuracy of the measurements

The myriad devices on the market (and soon to emerge) use a variety of sensors and methods to measure the various dat points.  For example, the Basis watch uses light to measure heart rate directly from the watch, other devices utilize chest straps.  I’m not saying which is better, simply that the different methodologies and algorithms aren’t as reliable in the eyes of a doc as the trusty machines he has used in his office for years.

2) Too much data / confusing data

Doctors do not have the time to pile through mounds of data.  Docs need a quick view, to spot trends quickly/easily and to jump to anomalies.  Also, docs don’t want to learn about “Fuel Points” – for there to be success here, the currency will need to be well established measurements, not trendy “points” and such.

3) Doctors don’t want to incur new potential liability

This one is interesting to me: doctors don’t want to take on the additional liability of dealing with (or failing to deal with) your newfound trove of data.  If you hand the doctor a stack of data which contains a buried nugget of concern, you have placed the liability to deal with that into the doctor’s (sometimes) unwilling hands.  Again, I’m not making judgements here, just pointing out another of the hurdles.

So – on the flip-side of this coin is great opportunity for entrepreneurs to do what they do best, solve real problems.  In a future post I want to address this very issue, and why it is so difficult to get this innovation cranking in Healthcare.

Your thoughts and opinions are more than welcome.


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