Flex, a company which tries to solve a little bit of everything, has recently developed a set of secure and managed solutions, called BrightInsight, that leverages Google’s Cloud Platform to aggregate medical data and deliver real-time insight into the efficacy of a drug, a device, a combination, etc. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that healthcare decisions made by applying such big-data strategies could add an $100 billion annually across the U.S. healthcare system.
While I think to myself, Well it’s about damn time, I am not convinced that our country’s laws are up to the dual task of ensuring safety/privacy on the one hand and allowing the effective use of this information on the other. HIPAA was written at a time when the notion of a instantaneously globally connectable devices was fanciful and when the idea of using self-learning algorithms to optimize solutions was just taking root in academia (and far far far from the hallowed halls of Congress).
All this to say, while I think this is a great step forward and I’m someone is pushing it forward, I believe a larger rethinking of our healthcare system is in order. That is, twenty years from now, we ought to have a medical system capable of using such information safely and effectively.