Next Generation Behavioral Medicine

This post will be short, since I am somewhat tired tonight. But you could probably tell that digitally from the decrease in number of times I have checked twitter tonight, or searched on Google.

We are continuously leaving digital footprints behind on search engines, devices, social media etc... and the conversation around "Big Data" has really centered around marketing ($$$). Interestingly, people in the medical community are starting to realize that these footprints might actually be health proxies, which could yield anonymous and instantaneous insights into an individuals well-being. In the end, global digital footprints provide us a powerful opportunity to expand the evidence base across medicine.

Five intereting points made re:behavioral medicine in a recent JAMA article are listed below:

1) Behavoiral medicine requires observing behavior or the manifestation of said behavoir

- - Doing so online is easier, more comprehensive, and more effective than with surveys since we passively exhibit outcomes online continuously

2) Web data can reflect more than just the individual since social context can be captured

- - We can start to query changing norms and social influence in an individual

3) Web data are potentially the only source for real time continuous data on behavior

- - Immediate accesability provides rich continuous data streams that is far superior to our suvey based systems

4) Hypotheses drive research and infrence into behavior

- - Web data can be a diverse source of hypotheses, and the depth provides access to roblems that may have been missed on suveys simply because the question wasn't asked

5) Online interventions will be a treatment algorithm routinely used in behavioral medicine

- - Software is eating the world....

Reference: "Could behavoiral medicine lead the web data revolution" JAMA April 9,2014

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