Google Search gives way to personalized search, but can personal search be transformed into personal prevention? That’s the premise of an interesting article written by Dr Joseph Kvedar from the Center for Connected Health, “Is the End of Search the Beginning of Personalized Prevention?” After reading this article, I have come to the conclusion that I believe it WILL happen but I’m not sure it will happen soon enough.
Take, for instance, the well-publicized case of BRCA 1(breast cancer susceptibility gene 1) positive Angelina Jolie. Genetic information drove personalized prevention possibilities for her. It was up to her to make the ultimate decision to have surgery or not AND to what extent. Because of her celebrity status, she was able to also use this decision as a forum to raise awareness for breast cancer screening. A win-win situation, any way you look at it. Personalized prevention meets Population Health improvement.
Other cases are not so clear, as Dr Kvedar points out. Many people do not want to be accountable for their day to day health let alone have it served up to them predictively by the web. We are seeing some movement in self tracking, however, from the explosion Quantified Self, Nike Fit Bit and mobile apps. Can this new movement lead to an enhanced need for health information, predictive prevention and cost savings? Only time will tell.
I do hope that this movement toward personalized prevention continues. As my children grow older, I worry about what health hurdles they will face (both are adopted). Will genetic screening and personalized, predictive preventions allow them to live healthier lives after I’m long gone? Again, only time will tell. It is certainly my wish!