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How One Company Is Putting Healthcare Data Back Into Patients’ Hands

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More than 80% of Americans support increased access to personal health information for both patients and providers, according to a recent survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. When patients can easily access their medical data, they can better manage their health and make more informed decisions about where, how, and when that data is used. 

But while patients want better access, today’s healthcare ecosystem often makes it difficult to obtain that information and share it with other healthcare professionals, caregivers, or researchers. 

PicnicHealth was founded in 2014 with a goal of making it easier for patients to obtain and manage their healthcare data in a single platform. To discuss the company's mission and the challenges patients face in managing their data, Bill Evans, Komodo Chief Marketing Officer, spoke with Noga Leviner, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of PicnicHealth, for our series, For the Health of It

Check out the video of the conversation between Bill and Noga. A transcript of their discussion follows:

Bill Evans: Welcome to For the Health of It, a series where we bring together some of the world's top scientists, analysts, and health experts to discuss some of the biggest challenges in healthcare today. I'm your host, Bill Evans. With us today, we have Noga Leviner, co-founder, and CEO of PicnicHealth. 

PicnicHealth is a leading innovator in empowering patients to control their own healthcare data by putting it literally in the palm of their hands. 

Welcome, Noga.

Noga Leviner: Great to be here, Bill. 

Bill: You founded PicnicHealth after you were diagnosed with Crohn's disease and discovered that your health data wasn't being curated or leveraged in a way that could help enhance your care. What do you believe is the root cause of that problem?

Noga: I can point to two things that I learned: 

First, it was just incredibly difficult for me to get my own health records. The healthcare system today just isn’t set up to make it easy for you to understand or make use of your records, particularly when compared to how we interact with technology to manage other aspects of our lives.

The second thing that I’ve learned is that it's not just about getting records into patient’s hands. The healthcare system just doesn't have the infrastructure in place for data to be used ‘out of the box.’ It's structured in so many different ways that it's technologically challenging to go from this very messy data at scale to clean, structured data that can be effectively leveraged, with the consent of patients, to be used effectively for making medical advances. It's only with that combination of getting data into patients' hands, and making that data the kind of clean, structured, normalized data set researchers need that it's possible to make these medical advances.

Bill: How is Picnic helping patients navigate this challenge and take command over their own data?

Noga: It's relatively straightforward. Giving patients control over their data is really just about giving them access to their data. But it’s not just about giving them access to this data in its raw form but also turning it into something useful. What we’ve tried to do is just take a patient's medical data and put it into their hands in the same way they would expect to have their banking information.

Once it's there, they can make the decision themselves how they want it used. And that means getting it into the hands of their physician, their provider, or any caregiver they wish. They can also put their hand up and say that they are comfortable sharing their data for medical research.

Bill: Noga, thank you for joining us today. It was great to hear your perspectives and learn more about the company. 

To learn more about PicnicHealth, go to picnichealth.com. Be sure to follow us on social media, including LinkedIn and Twitter  for news and updates about future episodes. Thanks for watching For the Health of It. See you next time.

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