One of the key health trends we’ll continue to follow in 2019 is the flood of medical and personal data that, if managed and analyzed properly, could help health care organizations provide better care, life sciences companies deliver better therapies and individuals make smarter lifestyle choices.
Sounds great, but there is debate around whether personal health information, like genetic risk for disease and the impacts of environmental and lifestyle factors, actually influences behavior.
According to an article from Medscape Medical News, several recent studies have found that information about personal genetic risks did not impact behavior. However, the same article highlights the Finnish study GeneRISK, which found “that high percentages of participants had lost weight and quit smoking a year and a half after learning their risk for heart disease, based on both traditional and genomic risk factors.”
The Finnish study gives hope that understanding risk can motivate individuals to make healthier choices. The Healthy Nevada Project, a large scale population study, is also realizing life-changing impact as a result of bringing together genetic, environmental, outcomes and demographic data. Facilitators carefully selected Helix as partner for medically ready genetic sequencing for the study.
Empowering the individual is critical to the success of preventative health care
Personalized and preventative medicine are the future of health care, and there is a significant appetite for accurate and actionable information to help individuals take a proactive role in their own health.
Call me an optimist, but I believe that inaction on the part of individuals in the past had more to do with the nature of the information they received and the way they received it than a lack of desire to improve their health.
We're constantly bombarded with information and advertisements about diet, exercise, sleep, emotional well being, supplements and other lifestyle choices and their impact on our health. It’s overwhelming and nearly impossible to decipher sensible choices from marketing hype. Imagine if the medical community could deliver reliable, personalized information about the changes we could make to feel better and live longer. I would sign up for that!
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