Is Big Data Coming to Senior’s Health? I Hope So.

by | Jan 6, 2017

By Rob Love, President, CEO

Photo Credit: http://www.wareable.com/smartwatches/apple-watch-v-fitbit-surge-2015-super-watch-showdown

Photo Credit: http://www.wareable.com/smartwatches/apple-watch-v-fitbit-surge-2015-super-watch-showdown

The dramatic recent growth in wearables has resulted in a corresponding dramatic growth in a variety of health and wellness data. But what is happening with that data? The answer, according to panelists in a couple of lifestyle and biotechnology sessions at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), is “Not much right now, but the potential is tremendous!”

Wearables—Fitbits, Apple Watches, Misfits and more—are constantly monitoring many functions, such as heart rate, steps, sleep and other measures of fitness and health. This results in a constant stream of data that could be used to determine the best ways to help people stay as healthy as possible, but right now essentially disappears over time.

Taking a “big data” approach to analyzing health data is not a new concept. One of the panelists referred to the well-known example of Kaiser-Permanente of California learning that Vioxx was dangerous, and getting it pulled off the market, by tracking health and prescription data of its members (anonymously, by the way).

As developers of these devices improve their data collection and analysis techniques, wearables could have a tremendous impact on how seniors in our communities are able to maintain and maximize their health. Wearables could not only help our residents manage day to day activities, as noted in an earlier article I wrote from the conference, but they could become predictors of future challenges, then help our residents take steps to avoid those challenges.

The key challenge in this process will, of course, be maintaining anonymity of the data. We don’t want Apple or their app makers to know that Mrs. Smith, in apartment 312, is evidencing signs of atrial fibrillation. Rather, we want their databases to have enough information to draw from so that Mrs. Smith’s wearable can recognize a pattern in her health, and provide her with the best advice. This is the “big data” benefit wearables can bring us.

For more information about the future of senior living, contact Tim Bracken at 410-207-0013.


To read my initial thoughts and expectations about the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show and International Builders Show, click here.

To read my thoughts on smart home technology seen at the Consumer Electronics Show, click here.

To read my final thoughts on the Consumer Electronics Show, click here.

To read my expectations for the 2017 International Builders Show, click here.

To read my first thoughts on the International Builders Show, click here.

To learn what my favorite product at the International Builders Show was, click here.

To learn more about the International Builders Show and how to prepare for next year’s conference, click here.

To read my final overview and thoughts about my time at both the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show and the International Builders Show, click here.

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