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Revolutionizing Medicine and Public Health

Revolutionizing Medicine and Public Health

Professor Alex Pentland, Dr Todd G Reid, and Dr Tracy Heibeck

The new wave of technical evolution has emerged into what is known as “Big Data.” These technologies have enabled us to detect diseases across the board revolutionizing the field of medical treatment.

Executive Summary

Everyday devices such as cell phones now provide us with an enormous stream of data about human life and behavior. Combined with existing health data, the behavioral data obtainable from these devices may greatly enhance opportunities to predict long-term health conditions and identify non-traditional intervention points, as well as to design better diagnostics tools, prevent diseases, and increase access to – and reduce the costs of – healthcare. Significant application areas include: chronic and infectious diseases, mental health, environmental health, nutrition, healthcare cost and quality, accidents and injury, and social health. While there is enormous promise, there are also dangers to be avoided, including the following: data privacy and ownership issues, risks of misuse of personal data, and new scientific risks.