November 4, 2019
When considering treatment for a particular disease/medical condition, the ‘one size fits all’ approach cannot work. Thanks to the rising technical as well as medical advancements, many treatment options are now available for patients. However, it’s up to patients to freely discuss their treatments with their doctors in order to choose the best suitable option.
Skilled doctors often get the credit for treating you and achieving a desired outcome, but even you can play a significant role in improving your own care. Your health data and digitized health applications/platforms can be one of the mediums that can help in empowering you to enhance your personalized care.
Why is managing and sharing your health data so important?
Unless you take charge, manage, and share your data, your doctors will have trouble designing your personalised care plan. Managing and sharing your data can save you time when you change your doctor and/or hospital, because your data will always remain at the same place along with the details of your medical history. Moreover, data management and sharing can also save you money, because you wouldn’t need to keep repeating all the tests as the reports of all your medical/pathological, imaging tests will already be stored on the app or the platform you’ve chosen.
When you don’t share your data with your doctors, they might start treating you in a conventional way, even when alternate, better treatment options are available. The doctor may not take into account your medical history. For instance, if a cancer patient fails to share his/her data with the doctor, such conventional treatment may result in harmful side effects, if the treatment even works on that particular cancer. Therefore, data sharing also saves your doctors’ time and they can, therefore, help you choose the best suitable treatment for yourself.
Having said that, collating your personal health data can sometimes be tricky, as it is spread out across a variety of sources, such as doctors’ notes (which can often be difficult to decipher) and traditional medical records. However, to choose the best treatment for you, it’s definitely worth the time and effort to share your health data on apps and data sharing platforms. Fortunately, new technologies, such as electronic medical records (EMRs), wearable devices and mobile health apps, have made it easier for you to access and manage your health data, allowing you to proactively participate in what earlier used to be a closed system.
Today, your health data is more important than ever and is increasingly being used in “precision” and/or “personalized medicine”, that can have a positive impact on your disease management.
So how can you manage and share your health data to empower yourself?
Today, there are numerous applications/platforms available to safely share and manage your data. Many hospitals or doctors or even independent data sharing services have a provision for you to share and store your data. All you have to do is log into the preferred application or platform and enter all the details about yourself, your medical history, reports of your medical/pathological/imaging tests, and so on. Once you enter all the information and save it, you do not need to carry tonnes of documents/files/reports to your doctor. You just need to open the app and show your doctor all your health data. This makes the whole process easier for your doctor(s) as your details are made available to them at the click of a button.
By safely sharing your data, building your health profile and your own health record database, you can be more actively involved in practicing your own care, managing your own conditions, monitoring your own results, leading to better health outcomes for yourself. You can own the power to drive and improve your treatment and the overall healthcare system. Through many of these platforms, such as “KYT or Know your Treatment”, you can not only get personalized care, but your data can also be used in medical research as well. This way, you can help other patients and contribute your data for betterment of humanity.