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Big Data

‘Bad Medicine’ Freakonomics Radio podcast episode, Dr Vinay Prasad, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Oregon Health and Sciences University, exposes the unsettling reality that ‘evidence-based medicine’ is still not as pervasive as we would all hope.


Dr Vinay Prasad comments:


… one of the things doctors were doing a lot for people after they had a heart attack was prescribing them an antiarrhythmic drug, that was supposed to keep those aberrant rhythms, those bad heart rhythms, at bay. That drug actually, in a carefully done randomized trial, turned out not to improve survival as we all had thought, but to worsen survival. And that was a watershed moment, I think, where people realized that randomized trials can contradict even the best of what you believe. It really doesn’t matter in medicine that the smartest people believe something works. The only thing that really counts is what is the evidence you have that it works.” [1]

With much to be excited about in recent healthcare developments (Big Data, IoT, deep learning, wearable tech etc.), it is easy to forget that it is the medicine itself which is most fundamental to treating illness, yet how can we gather evidence that our medicine really works? When a GP writes a prescription for a patient, that’s often the end of their correspondence. Did the patient get better? What was the efficacy of the drug? Did they administer their treatment correctly? This absence of feedback could be costly in the long term - to both our health and the public purse.



Connected devices offer one solution: a patient self-administering their medicament can assist by informing their GP (and the global medical research community) as their device transmits data via their smartphones. Coupled with wearable tech  and/or a companion app  in which they record when they are feeling better, worse or even if they display side effects, we can complete the feedback loop.


Big data has big potential, but only when medicine is understood as a system rather than a scattering of isolated diagnoses, treatments and outcomes do we get the big gains. Crux have expert knowledge and experience in many components of this system: autoinjectors, inhalers, wearable tech, connected devices (NFC, Bluetooth, WiFi and more) and companion apps. For more information, get in touch, lets work together to close the loop.


Ref -

Joel Gresham

Mechanical Engineer