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Qualcomm exec: In health, we’re ‘driving without a dashboard’

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So-called “quantified self” enthusiasts are using all kinds of gadgets and smartphone apps to log as much data as they can about their activity, sleep, heart rate and more. But, for the most part, that data (like most data in healthcare, unfortunately) exists in siloed, linear sets.

But, at GigaOM’s Mobilize conference in San Francisco Thursday, Clint McCellan, senior director of market development for Qualcomm (s QCOM) and president and chairman of the non-profit Continua Health Alliance, said the real value emerges when all that data can be pieced together and correlated.

Referencing Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley’s talk earlier today, McCellan told GigaOM Pro analyst Jodi Ranck, “What he was saying about maps is, I think, the same about health. When you open up a map and it’s just one-dimensional… great. What he wants to know is [how do you] make it multi-dimensional.”

Interoperability between medical devices and applications has long been an obstacle for connected health. Continua Health Alliance, which includes 240 member companies worldwide, for example, was founded to create a system of healthcare products that can share information. But using Qualcomm’s 2net Platform launched in December, as well as its software developer kit released launched last month, McCellan said, companies are starting to be able to achieve the kind of interoperability that will give patients and doctors richer pictures of a person’s health.

Instead of just collecting information about a person’s blood pressure, sleep, weight and other vital signs, doctors will be able to see how they interact and recommend behavior changes based on them.

“Right now, it’s as if you’re driving a car without out a dashboard. You have no idea how much gas you’ve got, no idea how fast you’re going – if you’re going to get a ticket,” he said. “This radically changes all that.”

Check out the rest of our Mobilize 2012 coverage here, and the live stream can be found here.

Watch live streaming video from mobilize2012 at

3 Responses to “Qualcomm exec: In health, we’re ‘driving without a dashboard’”

  1. Tim Longacre

    In my estimation, the problems of data linearity, interoperability, etc., won’t easily be solved until a different view of data ownership is adopted. Patient data is so fragmented–stored in so many different data silos which can be seen by only a few medical professionals, much less reviewed for research as mentioned in the article–that there should be little wonder as to why progress is relatively slow in the field of medicine. Education suffers from this same issue; many individuals know “things” about their students, but there are few systems (if any, though, certainly, none that are universal and reliable) to share that knowledge for the betterment of the student, teacher, school, and community. In both fields, opportunities for progress are being lost daily. I believe rethinking data ownership (thus, storage and access) is a step towards a solution to these problems. Yes, I do have an idea (well, more than an idea). If anyone is interested, give me a call.–TJ Longacre