Gathering Health Care Insights from Data About People’s Daily Lives

Vincent Tsui for HBR

While the healthcare industry becomes increasingly adept at applying clinical and claims data to improve care, it has largely ignored other data sources that provide the greatest opportunity to positively impact health and cost at scale. The dependence on this limited data set originates in the system’s orientation toward “sick care” — treating illness. To radically improve health care, we need to apply consumer demographic and lifestyle data in ways that help the health care industry shift its focus from providing sick care to partnering with people (rather than “patients”) to help them stay well.

The government and private sector have dedicated enormous capital and energy to building electronic health record and claims systems to automate and record sick-care transactions. This digitization supports consistent quality of care and payment accuracy, but the data is primarily retrospective – it tells a story of what has been. To

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