We, as healthcare professionals and consumers of healthcare, cannot provide quality healthcare to others or to ourselves without data.
Data points are everywhere. Your respiratory rate, heart rate, oxygen saturation, and blood pressure are just four common data points in healthcare facilities (perhaps even at home).
At home in the day to day, you may be counting your steps, hours of sleep, days per week you are exercising, and many other possibilities.
We would rarely collect these data points without a purpose and intention to use the data for meaningful insights.
An initial set of vital signs may provide a baseline for a patient that could be referred to with each subsequent set of vitals for comparison.
For someone looking to become more active through walking, tracking steps may provide a way to determine progress and plan for how to make adjustments.
Now there are many opportunities to add on to the list of data elements. However, too much data without a clear purpose does not necessarily add value to quality. It can instead become confusing and too much, especially for the consumer outside of a healthcare facility.
Therefore there is a need for a level of sensitivity and specificity to what data are needed, and for what purpose.
Whatever the data are that are obtained for specific purposes become a currency for directing your health toward quality outcomes.
Enjoy your holiday weekend,
PS: Something for you to think about and try....
Consider 3 data elements that you collect and evaluate about yourself or a family member on a daily basis. Identify the 3 data elements and then review how you use that data to inform your future decisions. Is the way in which you are collecting the data elements the most accurate and reliable? If not, how could that be improved?