Chapter 7. An Open Source Approach to Gathering and Analyzing Device-Sourced Health Data

Editor’s Note: At Strata + Hadoop World in New York, in September 2015, Ian Eslick (CEO and cofounder of VitalLabs) presented a case study that uses an open source technology framework for capturing and routing device-based health data. This data is used by healthcare providers and researchers, focusing particularly on the Health eHeart initiative at the University of California San Francisco.

This project started by looking at the ecosystems that are emerging around the IoT—at data being collected by companies like Validic and Fitbit. Think about it: one company has sold a billion dollars’ worth of pedometers, and every smartphone now collects your step count. What can this mean for healthcare? Can we transform clinical care, and the ways in which research is accomplished?

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJ) decided to do an experiment. It funded a deep dive into one problem surrounding research in healthcare. Here, we give an overview of what we learned, and some of our suggestions for how the open source community, as well as commercial vendors, can play a role in transforming the future of healthcare.

Generating Personal Health Data

Personal health data is the “digital exhaust” that is created in the process of your everyday life, your posting behaviors, your phone motion patterns, your GPS traces. There is an immense amount of data that we create just by waking up and ...

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