Nightingale: giving health data meaning

A single data point cannot create knowledge in isolation. It needs to be seen and compared with other data points for patterns to emerge that become learnings. The same rules apply to health data as well. For it to become meaningful, it needs to be compared and given context. Here’s how the My Nightingale blood test and app are doing that.

Giving health context

Over the past years, Nightingale has fuelled hundreds of academic studies that show the interplay of lifestyle, genetics, chronic diseases and wellbeing—deepening the understanding of how everyday actions (like diet, exercise and habits) affect health and how this help avert illnesses so that we can live healthier lives. So far, this knowledge has remained within academic circles. My Nightingale blood test is changing that. We have applied these scientific findings to hundreds and thousands of biobank samples, each representing a person, covering different demographics—age, gender, ethnicity and medical history.

So, for the first time, you can understand your health results in the right context. For instance, rather than just knowing your cholesterol numbers are OK, you can see how your health fares compared to others in your age group. Or, know your ‘heart age’ based on your cardiovascular health when compared to people of the same age and gender who have healthy hearts.

Learnings of one = knowledge for everyone

Giving people personalised health insights to improve their wellbeing will create a million success stories. It will give people the opportunity to add millions of more data points to this shared knowledge pool. And imagine, if we could learn from all these personal success stories and give the learnings back to the people.

Based on this ever-growing pool of knowledge, for each person, we’d be able to suggest changes in lifestyle that could change their future health. So, every one of us would have the means to choose a healthier life.

This knowledge will not only empower individuals, but also those who can make a difference for entire communities. With anonymised aggregated data, people who are responsible for the health and wellbeing larger groups, like companies and other organisations, would be able to foresee the future of their whole group and make informed choices to build healthier communities. Similarly, officials and politicians making decisions that affect the health of entire nations will be able to target their efforts more efficiently and follow up on the effects of their efforts on society.

Nightingale envisages building this database of shared learnings that’s able to make the whole world steer away from disease and towards lifelong health.