advertisement
advertisement

Now You Can See Which Diseases Are Trending At The Doctor’s Office

An electronic health record company is offering up a fascinating new way to see what’s making people sick, how they’re getting treated, and what outbreaks may be headed our way.

Now You Can See Which Diseases Are Trending At The Doctor’s Office
[Image: Sick person via Shutterstock]

Nightmares are a common problem among little kids–I will never forget the recurring nightmare I had about a rogue vacuum cleaner trying to eat me–but parents don’t tend to take their children to see the doctor just because of bad dreams. Some do, though.

advertisement
advertisement

To be precise, 4.9 kids age 10 to 20 out of every 10,000 of them are diagnosed with nightmares. So are some adults: 2.6 per 10,000 50- to 60-year-olds.

These statistics comes from Practice Fusion’s new Insight platform, which the electronic health record company is billing as the largest real-time health care database in the country. You could spend all day toying with it.

Its power lies in mining the 81 million de-identified patient records that Practice Fusion has access to. You can look into data on diseases and drug treatments. But it really gets interesting upon digging into current epidemics and outbreaks. Here, you can see the top 50 trending diagnoses. For whatever reason, contact dermatitis diagnoses are way up this week, while wrist sprains are down. Clicking on a diagnosis yields more details. It’s like Google Trends, but for information that usually never leaves a doctor’s computer system.


A view of the top 100 diagnoses is also available. No surprises here–hypertension, depression, osteoarthritis, and type 2 diabetes are all in the top five.


It’s possible to look at detailed data for any of the diseases in the system. So while it isn’t flu season right now, you can still see how the flu reliably goes up and down at the same time every year.


Eventually, Practice Fusion’s data could be used to predict outbreaks, much like Google’s (admittedly embattled) Flu Trends. “Anytime there’s good data and decent predictability, you can do different things,” says Chris Hogg, head of data science at the company. “We could tell people in a certain geography about the flu coming, alert a doctor on the platform. We don’t think it’s possible to accurately predict an entire [flu] season today, but we can predict an early warning.”

advertisement

The Insight platform doesn’t have geographical data available yet, but Hogg says that his team is working on it.

In addition to the free platform, Insight comes in a premium version offering more granular data (you could see how doctors are using a certain drug in women over 65 with atrial fibrillation, for example). The price for that version will vary based on a company’s needs, but for most individuals, researchers, and doctors, the free platform should suffice.

Check out Insight here.

advertisement
advertisement

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more

More