Hughesair (Inflection Point)

Retired physician and air taxi operator, science writer and part time assistant professor, these editorials cover a wide range of topics. Mostly non political, mostly true, I write more from experience than from research and more from science than convention. Subjects cover medicine, Alaska aviation, economics, technology and an occasional book review. The Floatplane book is out there. I am currently working on Hippocrates a History of Medicine and Globalism. Enjoy!

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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Open Safety Data UK

I’ve been preaching in the wind for medicine to use big data to no avail, but it’s starting to happen. 23and me was first, now Open Safety based on the entire British health care system. 

Security of personal data remains the greatest obstacle. Open Safety calls theirs pseudonymous. That might not be good enough with Chinese dystopia right around the corner. I think 23andme does protection of personal data much better. 

British electronic records might be good enough to pull together a credible database. The British healthcare system leans heavily on algorithms, protocols and administrative control in a quest for standardization and consistent outcome. Massive data driving individual care.

Traditional medicine focuses on the individual attempting to know everything about the individual. Traditional medicine would argue that individuals are dramatically different, not only in appearance but even more so at the molecular level. In my mind, this focus on individuals makes 23andMe the better database but not exclusively so. The UK Open Safety db combined with the genomic profile and clinical correlation from 23andMe might yield even greater insights. 

US electronic records are not accurate enough for a meaningful database and remain widely dissimilar. US diagnosis remains reimbursement prioritized and the review of systems (ROS) and the problem lists remain highly dysfunctional especially in the VA and Tri Care systems where an assistant can add a diagnosis without evidence or ignore present history and data. In many instances these corrupted entries are hard to remove.

Open safety may be a data mining breakthrough, but the conclusions will yield only an average, not a personal assessment, nor a credible probability of circumstance for the individual’s immunological, chemical and constitutional makeup.

Much as big medicine resists embracing it, 23andMe offers the chance to correlate the individuals’ chemical makeup with the owners own clinical data and personal history.

One additional point, with Open Safety, the government owns the data; it’s pseudonyms. With 23andMe, the individual owns his or her own data. In the US, such data in the hands of government, medical bureaucracy, insurance company or political hacker might be the greater risk.


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