I was having a conversation recently about healthcare analytics. During that discussion I came up with what I think is the perfect analogy for where we are in the development of healthcare analytics solutions. I’d also include things like health sensors and genomics in this broad definition since the data from these efforts are all going to work to inform various healthcare analytics and clinical decision support solutions.
With that in mind, I think when it comes to these solutions for healthcare, it’s almost like Columbus has discovered a new world. A few other explorers have set foot on land in North or South America and so we know there’s a whole other world of discovery out there. However, from an exploration perspective we’ve barely landed. We know there’s a lot of possibility, but we don’t have any idea the full expanse of what’s still out there. Does this sound like healthcare analytics to you?
Continuing the analogy, we haven’t even settled the 13 colonies let alone discovered the midwest or even considered that the entire west is there with all of its unique possibilities. No, we’re just starting our exploration of what’s possible in healthcare now that we have so much more health data. We see a lot of promise and potential, but we still have to discover where there’s a gorgeous paradise and where there’s a worthless desert.
I love the analogy of explorers since there’s so much discovery that’s still possible in healthcare. All these new sensors and technology are like new boats that can take us new places that we would have never thought possible.
That said, this type of exploration is not for the faint of heart. Much like explorers, some are going to die searching for gold in the new world and die without ever finding it. However, those explorers that die trying lay the framework for all the others that come after. Their failures will help future healthcare explorers to avoid the challenges their predecessors faced.
In many ways, this is why I’m so excited about healthcare and the technology that’s going to facilitate all this new exploration. Some of the discoveries we’ll find are going to require as dramatic a culture shift as it was for the old world to believe Christopher Columbus when he said the world wasn’t flat. That’s going to be painful for many, but it’s going to happen.