"Digital" Determinants of Health
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Rachael Donalds |
• November 2017
Data donation will become the new blood donation. It will feed Artificial Intelligence (AI) and mean that the health of one will be inextricably linked to the health of the whole of society, becoming a new determinant of health, a “Digital” Determinant of Health. In a visionary and far-reaching talk, Rachael A. Donalds, a doctoral student at Boston University and recent graduate of the T.H Chan Harvard School of Public Health, explains how technology has helped heal her from physical trauma, and how the same technology can be used to not only assist individuals but communities to crowdsource wellness. She explains how her experience has lead to her to create the Biosay app, which analyzes biometric data to determine how your physical and social surroundings impact our physical and mental health in the real-world and in real-time. She proposes that citizen crowdsourced health data paired with AI could provide unimaginable insights into what we currently identify as remarkable recoveries or anomalies, revealing the prescient ways we not only survive, but thrive. “If we as a society continue to be driven by what is normal or ordinary, we lose what is not just deviant but extraordinary. We may be surprised to learn that what unites us and indeed innovates medical discoveries, is not our commonalities, but our latent capacities which deviate from the moderate majority. It is my vision that Digital Determinants of Health will help us re-define the boundary between individual vs. population deviations and realize a more collaborative existence,” says Rachael in her recent article in which she introduces, Digital Determinants of Health, and discusses implications for patients, clinicians, and researchers. She also calls for caution and inclusion when utilizing AI, as the bias and inequitable disparities that exist in our data sets today will not be populated by AI but potentially perpetuated.