For the last couple of decades, scientific medical research and development have delivered major advances in healthcare.
Breakthrough discoveries have empowered the global medical community to more effectively combat life threatening and debilitating diseases.
Science and research have helped us prevent unnecessary deaths and intercept asymptomatic conditions before they become full blown disease.
We are now at the cusp of new therapeutic breakthroughs with precision medicine and we are looking at harnessing digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing to drive new innovations.
Yet, we are still faced with major challenges in science and healthcare.
We continue to grapple with gaps in our understanding of the natural history and etiology of major diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and many cancers.
Data science is advancing with a plethora of new data sources, but we have issues with data collection, bias in data, and the disparate and siloed nature of data sources.
We also realize that health outcomes and wellness are impacted by factors outside of the traditional healthcare environment, and that social determinants need to be taken into account when we want to truly understand what drives health outcomes and the human experience.
Furthermore, health systems struggle with mitigating waste due to fragmentation of care delivery and administrative burdens.
We can do better.
We need to think differently.
We need a new paradigm for insights.
We can need Human Data Science.
Human Data Science is an emerging discipline in healthcare.
It integrates the life sciences with breakthroughs in data science and technology and is now advancing our understanding of human health and enabling healthcare stakeholders to make better, more insightful, decisions.
Its three components, human data, human science, and data science, acting together and guided by human expertise, can enable innovative approaches to solve healthcare’s toughest problems.
The elements of Human Data Science are being applied to healthcare today, but holistic patient care, robust data science practices and an understanding of the science behind diseases need to be incorporated to make life-altering improvements.
Through the application of advanced analytics to human data, Human Data Science can be used to optimize health system performance by guiding and improving policy decision-making and population health interventions.
Challenges and gaps in healthcare worldwide are daunting.
They require a paradigm shift in our approach to data and science.
But this transformation through Human Data Science has already begun and offers reason to be optimistic.
The powerful forces of human ingenuity, breakthrough science, and disruptive technology that Human Data Science has unleashed promise to power future healthcare advances and improve health outcomes for individuals and populations globally.