New Technologies Fuel Patient Participation in Research

July 8, 2014 - "big data" research, electronic health records, and wearable monitors will empower patients to become more active participants in clinical research says Amy Abernethy, MD

July 8, 2014

The changing dynamic of health studies driven by “big data” research projects will empower patients to become active participants who provide real-time information such as symptoms, side effects and clinical outcomes, according to researchers at Duke Medicine.

The analysis, published in the July 2014 issue of Health Affairs, lays out a new paradigm for health research, particularly comparative effectiveness studies that are designed to assess which therapies work best in routine clinical practice.

Fueled by new technologies -- including electronic health records and monitoring devices that people can wear as clothing or accessories -- health studies are now poised to integrate data from a much larger pool of information. The new data is immediate and actionable, providing not only research material, but also clinical information that can improve the patient’s care in the short term.

“When linked to the rest of the available electronic data, patient-generated health data completes the big data picture of real people's needs, life beyond the health care system, and how changes in health and health care lead to meaningful changes in people’s lives,” said senior author Amy Abernethy, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and director of the Center for Learning Health Care at Duke.

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