Combine this technology with the social trend of recording and reporting other health statistics (e.g., people who track their running stats online and scales that broadcast a person’s weight to their twitter account), and we see the future of medicine: information overload. The static picture of us that is formed during a visit to a doctor will be supplemented by a rich, time-varying stream of quantitative data, derived from a multitude of disparate sources. The challenge is aggregating and presenting that wealth of heterogenous data to help physicians identify and manage acute and chronic diseases in our lives.
Many aspects of this challenge are being addressed by our collaborators on the iDash project. In general, research into server-side computing, data management, medical informatics, visualization, pattern recognition, machine learning, and information security (in a big way) is being inspired by this emerging application area. It is exciting to see the technologies of Kitware (Midas, ParaView with Titan, Visomics, and Electronic Health Records) and our collaborators, e.g., iDash, leading the way down those research paths.